Toy Buying Basics

Buying toys is often confusing. How often do you hear kids begging for the newest gizmo spotted on commercials between Saturday morning cartoons? And when little Suzy next door gets the newest toy of the season, how long does it take for your child to come to you asking for the same? All companies boast claims of what's "hot" and what's not, but how are you to know what toys are really best?Here are the major points to consider when buying toys.'' !''

Age Appropriateness

* A particular toy's fun quotient is not the same for all ages. Likewise, neither is its educational quotient. * Talk to the child and ask what he or she is studying in school. This also gives you a good idea of the child's intelligence and maturity level. * Be sure to avoid toys that promote violence or gender stereotyping. * Find out more about '''Choosing Age Appropriate Toys'''.

Safety and Durability

* Follow manufacturer's age recommendations and safety warnings. * Look for toys that are built to last and that can be cleaned easily (especially when dealing with toys for younger children). Usually, popular manufacturers can be trusted for making quality products. You'll also find that generally, the more expensive the toy, the better quality it will be, thus holding up longer.

A Child's Interests

* Get to know what he or she enjoys most overall and aim to find toys that are not only fun but that open a child's eyes to new experiences and new ways of playing. * See '''Popular Toy Categories''' for guides on all sorts of toys that will fit a child's interests.


* Choose toys that help a child build on his or her abilities and strengths in a challenging but fun way. * Play should be interactive, inspiring creativity and letting a child grow at his or her pace. * If a child is struggling in school, there is nothing better than '''Educational Toys''' to make learning fun.

Teamwork and Independence

* A game that involves more than one player is good for developing teamwork skills and learning how to get along with others. * On the other hand, games and toys that allow a child to have alone time increases his or her sense of independence. * Try to balance the two types of toys as you shop so that the child becomes more socially well-rounded.