Categories to Think About When Selecting the Top Toys For Your Own Children |

If you are shopping for toys to give your own kids, then there is a large selection available for you. The fact that toy sections in department stores occupy such large portions is a obvious testament to the amount of toys that are being offered for sale nowadays. However, sheer number alone should not be sufficient if you want to offer the very best for your children. There are a large amount of toys out there that are not worth purchasing. Here are a few categories to consider for choosing the top toys for your own children.FunctionalityIn selecting the top toys for your children, one of the most useful things to take into account is the toy’s functionality. How much purpose does the toy truly offer? Is it only utilized for playing? Or is there something else that the toy is actually good for?Aside from the fact the functionality is related to the price of the toy, it is practical to understand that the toy can also be good for some other functions, such as for teaching. There are toys out there that can teach your kids to read, write, spell, or even draw. Wouldn’t it be great to find out that your child is learning while playing?At the same time, there are also toys, such as portable game consoles, that your own kid could use not just for playing games, but also for listening to melodies and even for watching shows. In reality, several of these electronic game consoles could also be utilized to browse the internet. These toys are top of the list in terms of performance.Age AppropriatenessToys generally have a target age. There are toys that usually are supposed to be played by 3-5 year olds. There are those that are designed to be utilised by older children. The top toys generally cater to a wider range of ages. This makes them helpful for a extremely long period. It also proves that they are more versatile than others. Giving your children toys which are not age-appropriate may just irritate them or expose them to real danger. Age limits make sure that your kids possess the required abilities, and discipline for playing the toys. Don’t forget that.SafetyThe toys on your list must also be safe. The materials, paint, and other parts that make up your kids’ toys must have passed international safety standards. Not too long ago, there have been toy firms that have recalled several products in the market after being discovered to utilize leaded paint. (Lead is proven to cause dangerous effects on humans particularly children.In addition to the actual toy being safe, your toys should also train safety. Never acquire your children toys that encourage violence. They only reproduce violent behaviors in your kids. Not to mention, these toys are often close to accidents. Being handled by kids, they must be strong enough to withstand a lot of rough plays, but soft enough not to hurt your kids or make them choke on damaged parts.Value for moneyWhen shopping for toys for your kids, always remember to consider prices. Do not smother your kids with expensive toys. Teach your kids the value of money by placing a restriction to the cost of their toys. Remember, playthings such as toys are in general accident-prone or accident-bound, because kids are generally clumsier than grown ups. It might be much easier to let them to play their hearts out knowing that the toys they might break are easy to replace. Not to mention, they’re cheaper. You could reserve the more expensive toys after they’ve proven capable of taking care of their things. It’s more practical and much safer too.

Using Educational Toys For Imagination |

Using educational toys for imagination is an important tool in a child’s development. There are many educational toys on the market that stimulate a child’s intellect as well as encourage imaginative thinking. Both aspects are very important in a child’s overall development. It is also important for an educational toy should hold a child’s attention for extended play. Toy makers have seen and met this need by providing a vast array of imaginative and educational toys.When choosing the right educational toys for your child, you want to make sure they can use their imagination while playing with the item. Toys that are already equipped with all of the add ons and features, take away the opportunity for the child to insert their own creative play. Sometimes the best toys are the most simple toys that require more of the child’s involvement.For example, when in comes to toy cars and trucks, you may want to go with one that requires more of your child’s involvement. They will need to push the car to make it move rather than an electronic or remote control car. Something a child has to power will cause more involvement and creativity with that toy. Or toys and characters that do not talk or make sound are another good choice. Your child will make their own sounds for these toys, allowing them to utilize their imagination.You want to select toys that encourage and develop creative thing and independence. You do not want your child to only have toys that provide all of the entertainment for the child. This will not assist your child in developing their imagination. Studies reveal that by age for half of a child’s brain development has been utilized. So you want toys that will help build specific educational and imaginative skills.There are toys that specialize in specific education skills such as math, reading and science. Some of the educational toys that help to develop a child’s mathematics ability are simple sorting games. There are also toys that teach children to decipher certain patterns and sequences. Matching games and determining spacial relationships with other items also help with reasoning and problem solving.The more interactive the toy is, the more that particular toy will stimulate your child and hold their attention. Educational toys are also a great way for parents to develop in dependent play for their kids. This way the child is occupied and their mind is being stimulated while the parent can tend to other things. So it is important to select the right toy that will occupy the child’s time while sharpening their intellect and developing their imagination.The toys should also be appealing to children. Toy makers will use many bright colors to attract the child’s eye to the toy. It doesn’t have to have a lot of fancy bells and whistles to draw a child’s attention. Remember, to stimulation their attention, the simpler the toy the better. It is also important that the toy is well made. You want something that will last for hours of fun. And toys that are safe and will not cause injury to the child.Using educational toys for imagination is important for your child’s mental, social and imaginative development. There are so many toys on the market that will meet all of these needs. There are toy stores that are devoted to these types of toys. Many resources can also be found online.

Choosing the Best and Safest Toys For Your Dog |

So you go to the pet store to get your dog some new toys and you get overwhelmed by the massive amounts that you see. There are so many types, shapes, sizes, etc., that you don’t know what you should get! Basically there are two types of toys for your dog – fluff and interactive.Fluff toys look cute and sweet, but may not necessarily be the best for your dog. Some examples are stuffed and squeaky rubber or plastic toys. These are OK for some dogs, but many dogs will quickly destroy them, which can be dangerous to your dog and a waste of money for you. These toys can be dangerous when destroyed because your dog can ingest the parts as he or she tears it apart. Stuffing and cloth or rubber pieces can easily become lodged in your dog’s throat or intestinal system and cause a trip to the vet to remove them, sometimes via surgery, and have even caused death. It is OK to give your dog these toys if they are not voracious chewers and are being supervised. There now are toys that are made without stuffing so that dogs can have ‘fluff’ toys or ‘stuffed’ animal toys without the danger of the stuffing. They are also a pain to clean up!Interactive toys make your dog have to work somehow for some type of reward. Chew toys, puzzle toys, and fetch toys. I am including chew toys in this category because the reward for your dog is the ability to destroy the toy/treat. Fetch toys do require you to play with your dog, but they are still interactive and puzzle toys are generally self sufficient toys for your dog. Puzzle toys generally have a reward of treats or other toys for the dog. The dog has to figure out how to get the treats or toys out of the main toy. This is usually done by dropping, rolling, or chewing the main toy. As the dog does this, treats or toys come out of the main toy and reward your dog for all of his or her hard work.Interactive toys are great way to occupy your dogs time. They are great for when your dog is in his or her kennel or when they are in need of something to do. They make your dog have to ‘think’ in order to ‘solve’ the puzzle (get the reward). Your dog needs to have mental stimulation as well as physical stimulation or he or she will not truly ever be tired and satisfied.Here is a list of some good Interactive toys and chews for your dog:
Kong – you can stuff it and it’s good for chewers
Kong Wobbler
Kong Genius
Kyjen Iqube
Kyjen Intellibone
Kyjen Hide a Toy
Busy Buddy toys by Premier Products
Atomic Treat Ball
Kong (R) fetch toys
Buster Food Cube
Tough Turtle Puzzle Plush
Iq Treat Ball
Starmark Everlasting Treat Ball and Beanie Ball
Jolly Pets Teaser Ball
Seek-a-Treat Flip N Flop Dog Puzzle Toy
Stuffed Marrow Bones
Bully sticks – safer than rawhide
Rope toys – good for flossing your dog’s teeth
Nylabone Here are some good Fluff toys for your dog:
Tuffy Toys
Skineez Stuffing Free Dog Toys If you stick to the above lists for toys for your dogs, or do your own research to find the right toys for your dog, you will not only save yourself money but you could save your dog’s life!Remember that a tired dog is a good dog with a happy owner!

Get Back To the Basics This Christmas by Gifting Wooden Toys |

The Christmas holidays are awaited with great anticipation by kids and adults alike, but it has to be said that kids have a lion’s share of the excitement. One of the best things about the Christmas holidays is the giving and receiving of gifts. This actually creates quite a dilemma for adults because they spend quite a bit of effort trying to balance the child’s demand for entertainment with the parent’s desire for the child to get educational toys. Wooden toys are becoming increasingly popular as gifts for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions because they are unique and eco-friendly.One of the simplest ways that you can give educational toys for Christmas that you know will be greatly appreciated is to buy children’s wooden toys. There are many wood toys that are excellent toys for learning because they provide the child the opportunity to use their fine motor skills, especially if they are construction toys. It is a well known fact that children who play with construction toys get to practice hand and eye coordination very well. As a matter of fact, many schools use children’s wood toys in order to build these skills in children.The other major benefit of giving children educational toys is that these are a great way for them to learn about specific things, especially history. A construction toy is also a great buy for parents interested in providing their children with toys for learning how to recognize patterns and build something out of different pieces.There is an immense variety of children’s wooden toys available in the market today because manufacturers are responding to the increased demand for wood toys from parents who would rather spend their money on educational toys than on ones that only provide entertainment. These wooden toys are available to suit many budgets as well.Log cabin toys make wonderful Christmas gifts for children because they satisfy various criteria of an educational wooden toy. These wood toys are excellent toys for learning about certain aspects of history since they tend to be made according to a theme. In addition, they help a child develop motor skills. Most people who are gifted log cabin toys find that this is a great way for the family to spend time together. Assembling a construction toy does require adult help, and the adult can take this opportunity to talk about the history at that time. As a matter of fact, these educational toys can help a child develop interest in history in general.The best thing about most wooden toys available today is that they are well manufactured. These tend to be more than toys for learning because some of them, especially log cabin toys, look so attractive that they can be put on display as well.The best wooden toy manufacturers are well aware that people are very conscious about the impact their actions have on the environment. As a result, some offer a wood toy range that is made of waste lumber from local industry and do not have to cut down trees for their business.If you are looking to gift toys for learning this holiday season then you should pick out an educational wooden toy instead of a plastic one. The children who receive wood toys from you will be thrilled at the novelty of the gift and the parents will be impressed by the thoughtfulness. Your kids and their friends will also be very pleased to receive log cabin toys and other types of wood toys because they will get hours of pleasure from them. These toys for learning will be a surprise hit this Christmas!

The Toy Swap – How to Organize One For the Holidays |

Please note – this article was written about a Hanukkah project but certainly applies to Christmas or anytime that involves kids (especially if it’s a toys time).A few years ago, as my children started to discuss what Hanukkah presents they thought they would like, I took a look at all the games and toys that they already had. Now, my kids really aren’t exceptionally spoiled, but somehow we own tons of toys. If you consider birthdays, holidays and visits from their grandparents, who live out of town, and multiply that by 5 kids, you’re talking a lot of new toys every year. How often do we throw out a toy or give one away? Certainly not at the rate they were coming into the house.Toys are often a parent’s fantasies of how some day their children will leave the computer and go back to wholesome playing like we grew up with. To kids, toys are something to hoard. They can “never” get rid of anything. So, toys are collected and collected.With a quick mental sort I found that our toys fell into five categories:1 — Toys our child really likes and plays with often — Keep those, there aren’t too many.2 — Toys our child might play with about once a month — Get rid of them, once a month never happens.3 — Toys our child used to like. Now they just sit on the shelf — Get rid of them, they’re just collecting dust. The next child will never play with his sibling’s hand–me–down toys.4 — Toys we thought our child should play with. Toys that are ducational, creative or the type we had loved as children — Get rid of them, get real!5 — Toys that were almost new — basically the ones grandparents had brought — Get rid of them, but first take a picture to send Grandma.We had to find a way to get rid of some toys before the holiday influx, but how?Then I had a brainstorm. We’ll have a “Toy Swap”. Trade those “dust collecting” toys for ones that might peak the children’s interest. The neighbor’s toys always look better than yours do. And it’s easier to throw out or give away swapped for toys, later when you bore of them. Once I told my kids they were swapping, and they would get new toys in place of old ones, we managed to fill up two big cartons with toys.I got my friend, Shoshana, to work on this project with me and we made it a Synagogue activity for Hanukkah.We distributed fliers to all the parents explaining the idea of the toy swap and the rules. All toys were welcome. The only rule was that the toy had to be in decent condition. No pieces missing. No cars without wheels. No bears without ears. No ripped books…The toys came by the boxfulls — I guess I wasn’t the only parent with too many toys.We marked the boxes so that we’d know who they came from. Then we sorted the toys into four categories putting colored stickers on each toy:Purple — Nice boxed gamesGreen — Big baby toys (we gave that a high rank since people brought brand new baby toys that they had gotten as baby gifts), puzzles, very big toys (pottery wheel, electric trains, racing cars…)Yellow — Simple toys — Stuffed animals, books, discs, CD’s, balls, cars, trucks, dolls…Red — Very small, cheap toys — little cars, action figures — we allowed almost anythingWe had coupons in each of the four colors. As we ranked a toy and put a sticker on it we put a matching colored coupon into that family’s envelope. Shoshana and I basically made up the ranks as we went along. We tried to be fair, but it was really hard. It didn’t really matter. Once someone took that toy out of their house they didn’t really care what its value was.The day of the Toy Swap We got some girls (about 14 years old) to help. We handed out the envelopes with the coupons to each family. Though people had brought cartons filled with toys, they were still surprised at how many coupons their child now had available to use to purchase new toys.We arranged tables around the four corners of the room, each with tablecloths the colors of a coupon. All the toys with purple stickers were put on a purple table in the purple corner…At the purple table (the highest color) you can only buy with a purple coupon. At the green table (the next rank), you can buy with a green coupon or a purple coupon. At the red table (the lowest rank) you can use any color while a red coupon can only be used at the red table. We had signs at each table listing what color you can use.There was no option of combining coupons to add to a higher rank, and no “change” was given if you used a higher color at a lower table. If you didn’t see something you liked at the purple table, you can use your purple coupon at a lower ranked table. A child who wanted a doll (yellow) didn’t care that they were paying for it with a Monopoly game (purple).The swap worked beautifully. We couldn’t believe it. What I think made it work so well was that very few mothers hung around. This may sound silly, but grownups rate the value of something on its monetary value. The kids rated it on its “play value”. A purple coupon (maybe Monopoly) for a bag of marbles (yellow) made a little boy very happy. Sounds like a good swap to me. There were so many toys involved and the kids had hands full of “money”. Everyone was happy (except maybe not the mothers when their kids came home with lots more toys to replace the ones they had just cleared out).We ended the day with a magic show. Then everyone went home to play with all their “new” toys.EpilogueWe did another Toy Swap three years later (this time we did it right before Passover, when people were cleaning out their houses (or spring cleaning)). A few of the toys came with our stickers on them from the previous Toy Swap. Those toys had found a new child to play with them for three years, and now were ready to go home with even another child.

Top 10 Tips For Buying Good Toys and Games |

Do you sometimes wonder what the best types of toys and games are for kids? If so, you’re not alone. We all care about getting a toy or game that not only engages our child but also is good for her or him. Here’s a list of 10 tips for buying good toys and games. The list is for all the kids in your life…and consider yourself a kid if you’re young in spirit and love to play!1. Buy toys that engage their imagination. In a survey of kids done by a toy industry magazine, kids said that they want toys that spark their imagination. Kids are full of ideas, so buy games that tap into this amazing power. (Example: Think-ets, Legos)2. Get toys that have many different ways of playing with them. Kids want layers of fun. They want games that have different rules, levels, and applications. This way, their toy isn’t boring after awhile and keeps on giving just when they start to fade. (Examples: Playing Cards, Bananagrams)3. Intrigue them enough to make them want to invent a toy themselves. All kids like to invent. Whether it’s a scientific experiment or a fantasy play, they want to create something new. Look for games and toys that are simple, innovative, and that “think outside the box.” Inspire your kids. (Example: Fractiles, Flashflight Flying Discs)4. Buy games of quality. There is nothing worse than getting a toy home and having it break after a short period of time playing with it. If at all possible, buy the toy that has a sturdy and satisfying feel to it. It will last far longer and its play value will far outlast your original investment. (Examples: ‘Bedroom at Arles’ Wooden Puzzle by Think-a-lot Toys, Doinkit Darts.)5. Try something different. It’s a big toy world out there and while we all know and love our favorites, like Monopoly and Pictionary, there are many hidden and not-so-hidden gems waiting for you. Ask your friends, your neighbors and your specialty toys store sales clerks what’s new and different. (Examples: Djubi, Magformers)6. Avoid licensed products. OK, this may be hard for some of us but the problem with buying too many licensed toys is that they limit kids’ imagination. Products that come with their own scripted story tend to do the thinking for the child and don’t allow kids to create their own stories, which are limitless. (Example: Knight/Dragon Cape and Hood by Creative Education of Canada)7. Choose simple toys. “A good toy is 10 percent toy and 90 percent child,” says The Alliance for Childhood in their wonderful pamphlet, Time to Play Every Day: It’s Fun and Fundamental. A child’s imagination is amazing to watch in action and “simple toys and natural materials, like wood, boxes, balls, dolls, sand, and clay invite children to create their own scenes-and then knock them down and start over.” (Examples: Sand, Clay, Dolls, Balls)8. Be Easy on the Environment. There is a growing awareness that we need to start buying toys that are not only good for our kids but good for the planet. Many new toy companies are stepping up and creating great products that use recycled materials. Kids will know you care when they see you buying toys that are “green” and use minimal packaging. (Examples: Tea Set by Green Toys, ImagiPLAY’s Wooden Toys)9. Choose toys that support right brain thinking. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind says that the future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers, and storytellers, etc.-those who are empathic, inventive and have big-picture capabilities. All kids-boys and girls-need toys that engage the right side of their brains. (Examples: Scratch Art, Piano Wizard, StoryPlay Cards)10. Listen to Your Kids. By this, we mean listen to your kid’s passions. Sure, they might want the latest hot toy or game-and one may be fine-but also think about each child in particular and find out what really moves them and what they are ready for. Think back over the year and see if there are times when your kid was truly engaged and then find those toys and games that meet this passion. (Examples: Your Own Eyes and Ears)Most importantly, have fun when buying good toys for your kids. Nothing ruins good play by getting stressed out when you are out to bring more fun into the world. Make your toy-buying journey a destination in and of itself.