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(Parenting) Quality Toys

As our thoughts turn towards holidays, many of us start to think about gift ideas for our kids. Yet as we look around at our full closets and overflowing toy boxes, we see piles of cheap and broken toys and the much-coveted, yet short-lived toy wonders. Most of us parents would agree that we would rather have quality over quantity when it comes to toys, but the application of that ideal often gets lost between the pleading eyes, the desire to shower our kids with with everything good, and well-meaning grandparents. But ultimately, quality does trump quantity. Most fad toys and almost anything with batteries won’t make it through the year, let alone turn into an treasured toy that lasts through the rest of the children or even grandchildren. As adults, we look back lovingly on what we refer to as “classic toys” because they come from an era where quality did prevail over quantity. They are from a time when children had fewer toys.

Here are a few tips to help direct your steps as you try to gradually build your supply of high-quality toys:

1. Lay out a long term vision for your toy collection.

2. Buy toy collections that can be added onto such as Legos, Playmobil, Little People, dollhouses, dress-up, etc. This gives gift-givers a general guide for purchases. It also allows the child to develop more focused play. By expanding their options within an already-existing collection, they will return more frequently to that toy set to expand, grow, and tweak their previous play experiences. This ultimately enhances creative play.

3. Find a couple of websites that sell toys of the more classic nature and forward those to extended family gift-givers. Additionally, you can usually request a free catalog from the company and pass those on to your children to look through. This helps direct your child’s thoughts away from the advertisements of this year’s popular toys and towards more classic toys.

4. Select toy collections that can be used across multiple age groups and can grow with the child.

5. Ask yourself if the toy requires the child to create something (mentally or physically) and move away from toys that simply entertain.

As you focus more on building a collection of quality toys, you will probably find that it grows more slowly, but look around you again. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

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