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    Toys: Too Many? Wrong Type?
    Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
    Do you ever feel like you can't take one step in your house without tripping over a toy? Do you wonder if your kids really need all of them?
    When should you say, "No more!"?

    Play is an important factor in a child's development, and parents should encourage free play every day. That said, kids don't need to have every expensive gadget or hundreds of toys for effective play.

    Have you ever bought your toddler a fancy toy and watched her cast it aside in favor of a wooden spoon and pot from the kitchen? It is often the simple things that help children to be creative and learn to imagine.

    Babies learn by engaging their senses, so toys that are colorful, make sounds, have textures, and are safe for tasting are best. As your infant grows, toys can help encourage her to do new things like pulling up to stand, imitating sounds, and later learning her letters. She will eventually learn all of these skills, but a few, carefully selected toys can aid the process and make it fun.

    When choosing toys, remember that every year thousands of children are injured by toys. Make sure children's toys are sturdy and safe, too large to be swallowed, and always age-appropriate.

    As hard as it is when your child says, "Everyone else at school has one," try to not fall victim to marketing campaigns and commercialism. Your child doesn't need every toy from every movie. It's okay if they have different toys than their friends. Toy variety can make play dates more special for your child's visiting friends.

    Remember -- you are the parent -- chant this every day! Learning to say "no" to your child's every desire is an important part of parenting. This will also teach her to appreciate what she has, work hard for a few select items she truly wants, and to take care of her belongings.

    Encourage your child to spend time each day playing by kicking a ball or playing tag outside. Try to encourage your child to participate in creative play instead of sitting on the couch playing a video game.
    Speaking of video games, I find that the weeks when parents take them away are the most enjoyable for everyone in the family!

    Do you have a "toy strategy"? How do you select toys and encourage creative play for the children in your life? Share your experiences with children's toys and methods to encourage positive playtime with the community.
    nursingbug responded:
    My 3yr old has a lot of toys- I try to keep it down to a good amount though.
    I try to get her one large developmental toy for large events- Christmas or birthday. One year she got a kitchen set, and family got her food, plates, things to go with that. Last year she got a dollhouse. Easter our family gives things too, this year I got her some seeds and planting things, so she could 'garden' with me. I like things that are less flashy, and more about creative play.
    What is harder is for me not to get her toys that I think are cool= I really like Jessie from Toy Story and she is not as interested!

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