How to Choose an Electronic Educational Toy

Choosing toys for your kids presents some unique challenges. You want something stimulating and educational, and you want it to be age-appropriate. Here are some tips on how to choose and electronic educational toy.

Battery Power

There’s been a recent groundswell of support for non-mechanized toys for kids. The resurgence of wood blocks, plush toys and dolls might have you shying away from electronics. However, keep in mind that there are some truly incredible, electronic educational toys available today. And it’s not all about lights and bells: there are toys that provide great stimulation and entertainment for kids of all ages.

Age Appropriate

Most children’s toys come with an age recommendation to inform consumers of the ages for which the toy is appropriate. This is a great guide – particularly if you don’t have little ones at home – to provide a general idea of the suitability of the toy you’re choosing for its intended recipient. Keep in mind this age range recommendation is simply a guide. You’ll need to consider the individual preferences of the child in determining if the toy is appropriate for their age and developmental stage.

Electronic Educational Toy

Be Careful with Noise

For toys that produce sounds, opt for ones with multiple volume settings. Many will have a low and high volumes, making them better suited to kids who may be hearing impaired or have sensory issues that make loud noises unpleasant.

Multi-Function Toys

The best bet with electronic educational toys is something that can also be played with and enjoyed without the batteries. Examples include toy fire trucks or tractors, which can be played with as a push toy even if the lights and sounds are off.

Evaluate Three Areas

When choosing an electronic toy, consider its potential in three key areas: skill building, entertainment and promoting active play. Try to pick a toy that provides benefits in all three areas. The ideal toy should teach a new skill to the player, provide a fun and entertaining experience, and encourage active (rather than passive) play for the child.

Toy Preferences are Individual

There’s a reason today’s toy market is a multi-billion dollar industry: kids like many different kinds of toys. So, even though you’ve researched and chosen the perfect educational electronic toy, there’s a decent chance that the child won’t like it. Or, they may love it. It all depends on the individual interests and preferences of the child. To be safe, you may want to discuss ideas with your child’s teacher or day care provider. They may have observed the child playing with a specific type of electronic educational toy and can offer some ideas.

Electronic educational toys present the opportunity to engage children and make learning fun in new and exciting ways. Remember to look for toys which build skills, entertain the user, and provide for active play, problem solving or creativity. The result will be a great toy that captures the imagination and attention of your child and becomes a favorite toy at playtime.

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Toy Safety

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Buying toys for kids is one of the perks of being a mom, but there are some basics that are important to remember when choosing toys for younger children. Toy safety is an important issue that everyone should be aware of. Finding the best playthings for your child begins with knowing which toys are appropriate for your child based on their age.

Labels and Examinations

Labels are a good resource for choosing age-appropriate toys for kids. Most companies today put an age indicator right on the box or tag. If you find something that doesn't indicate which age it has been designed for, however, you will need to examine the toy carefully. Anything with a sharp edge, loose parts, magnets or unsecured batteries are particularly dangerous for young children. Skip those toys in favor of safer options. You should also check stuffed animals and other soft toys carefully to ensure eyes and other features are secured properly before giving it to your young child.

Gifts and Secondhand Items

When your child receives a gift, it is important to make sure it is safe. Gifts from grandparents and others that you know well can be planned in advance if you discuss the importance of toy safety with those closest to you. You may want to show grandparents and others what to look for when making purchases for your child, or provide other caregivers with a safety checklist to make purchasing toys simpler. You can also share the tips found at Safe Kids, online at www.safekids.org.

Secondhand items should always be inspected carefully to ensure the toy is safe. Toys can become damaged through normal play. Anything with small or loose parts, for instance, should be discarded. It is normal for other parents to want to pass their secondhand toys on to someone else after their child has outgrown or no longer plays with them, but if you are uncomfortable with this type of gift it is perfectly fine to say no. If you do accept secondhand toys, make sure they are safe by checking the official recall list. You can learn more about toy recalls at the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, which can be found online at www.cpsc.gov. With some simple steps, you can prevent injuries and accidents caused by recalled or damaged products.

 

Mom Review: Castle Bounce House

bouncehouseI am writing this while listening to my children hop, jump and squeal.  It's a little distracting...but I can't complain.

I recently purchased a Castle Inflatable Bounce House w/ Slide (12' x 9') from Amazon.com and thought I would share my thoughts with you about this product.

We used it for the first time during our Father's Day BBQ.  My kids (5 & 6 and my *almost* seven year old nephew) played in it for at least an hour.  I used it again at my daughter's birthday party one week later.  All of the children (ages 3-7) had a great time.  The only downfall...they had to take turns because it is only large enough to hold 3-4 children at a time safely.

While I was afraid I would only use the bounce house for big events - my children have been using it at least twice per week.  On rainy days - we bring it indoors and on warmer days they pull it under the shade trees.

Set up for the bounce house is simple. In fact, my 6 year old daughter is able to drag it out of our backyard shed, plug it in and start it up.  It is also fairly light and easy to maneuver.  Just the other day I set it up in our basement when I wanted the kids to get some rainy-day exercise.

What I love most about this particular bounce house is that my children also use it as a playhouse.  They've draped blankets over the top to turn it into a "movie theater" and have loaded it full of stuffed animals to create an "animal hospital".

Overall, I am thrilled with this purchase.  I bought it for $249 at Amazon.com and have since seen lower prices on the internet.  It has been well worth the cost during the summer months and I expect that during the cold winter months it will be a great addition to the basement play area!