Sunday, November 9, 2008

Brainy Toys for Christmas

If you're looking for the best Christmas gifts for your kids, here's a reminder of which ones are best for learning-and they're not necessarily the ones marketed that way!

From Medstar: It's a dilemma many parents face, buy your kids the toys with all the bells and whistles. or get the educational ones. Child psychologists say the best toys may be the ones you least expect.

Go into any toy store and the choices can be overwhelming. Many promise "brain-building" skills, but do all the blinking lights and music really deliver? Child psychologists say it's all how they're used.

Dr. Pete Stavinoha said, "It's things that kids wanna interact with, things that don't necessarily do things for a child, but they allow the child to kind of use their imagination and build things or draw things or move and kind of let them express themselves."

Choosing a toy that promotes interaction between a parent and child is best. Experts recommend books, building blocks, dolls and arts and crafts. Dr. Stavinoha said, "Those aren't going to promote a child's development nearly as much as something that helps them interact with others or let's them use their imagination, think for themselves, solve problems, overcome frustrations, all those kinds of things."

While electronic toys and games do have their place, participating with your children using simple, traditional toys may be best. And if you're shopping for outside activities, Dr. Stavinoha says to stick to the tried and true traditional trikes and bikes that encourage exercise.

Back to the computer for a moment, Dr. Stavinoha cautions against toddlers spending too much time at the computer. Even though children may know how to navigate a mouse, they're most likely not developing problem solving skills.

I have only bought a few books for my kids so far. My five-year-old has a couple of things on a list. I have no idea where to get them! Yikes!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.


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