As you select the tools of your child's developmental work, here are some helpful questions to keep in mind:
• Will this toy sustain interest over time? If a toy has multiple uses and encourages creativity or dramatic play, the chances are better that your child will enjoy it for an extensive period.
• Does it present an appropriate level of challenge? If it's too hard to be successful playing with a toy, your child will want to give up. If it's too easy, your child will lose interest. Look for toys that target skills just beyond what your child has already mastered.
• Will the toy foster emotional, intellectual, physical or social development? Many toys that are naturally inviting to children help them grow in one or more of these areas and provide important opportunities for learning as well as excitement.
• Can your child play with this toy alone and with others? If both you and your child find the toy appealing, you can enjoy a special activity together or have needed alone time.
• Does the toy build an important ability while remaining fun and engaging? Maybe your child has poor fine motor skills but loves construction toys. Sometimes a toy can help your child increase essential skills without seeming like work at all!
• Will this toy appeal to your child's specific interests, personality and learning style? If your daughter is a tomboy, resist the urge to buy her the pink dollhouse you loved as a child and choose something that will engage her own particular sense of adventure.
• Is it practical and safe? An appropriate toy should fit your budget and living space as well as ensuring safe, rewarding play opportunities for your child.