There are lots of great toys out there and a whole lot that aren’t worth spending money on.
But what makes a good toy, anyway? It’s a question we’ve pondered many times over the years here at BC. If you stop to think about which toys have the best staying power in your household and what they have in common, I’ll bet you’d come up with the same list of traits we have.
We’re not the only ones trying to list the best toys, though. I’m sure you’ve seen the “Toy of the Year” medallions and other awards on toys in the toy aisle. This week we’re going to take a look at toys that show up on award lists put together by Dr. Toy, the Parents’ Choice Foundation and the Toy Industry Association.
As you’ll see in the Top Toys post this week, most of the lists (but not all) use the same criteria:
Toys with Staying Power
- Are age appropriate. Toys meant for older kids can not only be dangerous for younger ones, but can be confusing or boring since kids haven’t acquired the skill or understanding they need to use them.
- Can be used in more than one way as kids grow and learn.
- Let kids be creative. They allow kids to create imagined worlds and scenarios.
- Encourage extended attention. Kids play with them for more than a minute.
- Foster skill development. The best toys help kids build language, motor, social or problem solving skils while they play.
- Appeal to the senses. They’re fun to look at, touch, and listen to.
On the flip side, toys destined to be forgotten
- Aren’t interactive. Kids watch them do what they do rather than participating actively.
- Are one-trick ponies. There’s only one way to play with them.
- Make noises so annoying that mom or dad makes them disappear forever (*cough* Zhu Zhu Pet *cough*)
- Require you to keep buying accessories, refills, etc. in order to maintain your child’s interest.
As you read this week’s Top Toys posts, think about how the toys on the lists fit into the criteria above. Train your brain to spot the deals and the duds!
I’d love to hear what you think about the toys on the lists. Be sure to share your opinions in the comments or on Facebook.