“PLAY is the work of childhood”

We spotted this quote on the wall of the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and found that it really encompasses what our company is all about.  It also made us want to share with you what your child needs to PLAY.

Mainly, your child needs YOU :)…but a few toys could come in handy too!  But with so many choices out there you may feel a little overwhelmed when trying to choose toys for your child.  What toys will your child like, what toys are best for your child’s age, how many toys are enough?  Listed below are our suggestions when you are faced with some of these questions.

1.     1.  Keep it simple.  Some of my favorite toys stores are the ones that boast “no batteries required” in their window.  Many toys today require batteries to light up and sing songs…which is fine and dandy if pushing buttons and operating the on/off switch is what you want your child to learn.  But in order to develop early imaginative play and stretch your child’s thinking, he needs to be introduced to toys that allow for that type of play.  An example of that type of toy is classic wooden blocks.  Most popularly they are stacked on top of each other to form a tower that your child wildly loves to knock down.  But as your child grows and develops, these blocks can serve as a fence around their farm animals, a garage or road for their cars and trucks, or a table for their doll.  Wooden blocks that have numbers and letters printed on them can be used to work on number/letter identification and spelling during the preschool years.  Toys like this can be repurposed for many types of play…good for your child and your wallet!
  2.  Have a toy swap with a friend.  This is one of the best ideas, I think, to not feel obligated to buy the entire toy aisle at Target!  Grab a few toys your child has lost interest in and ask a friend to swap a few of her child’s toys with you.  For no cost to you, your child can enjoy and explore new toys.  In a few weeks swap back and your child’s old toys are like new to him again!  Another idea is to put some toys away in the closet and rotate them out every month. 
3.  Common household items serve as great toys.  I have never met a child who doesn’t like to bang on pots and pans with a wooden spoon.  With close supervision, a bucket of water, sponges and paintbrushes outside on the sidewalk equal an afternoon of fun for a toddler or preschooler.  Use blankets draped over your kitchen table to create a fort, castle or playhouse.  Dump some dry beans into an oversized Tupperware container and let your child dig for hidden toys in the beans (this activity also requires close supervision to prevent choking).
4.   Read the labels on toys.  Often toys are recommended for certain ages based on developmental stages and/or safety precautions.  Do some research before you head out to the store to find out what cognitive/language/motor skills your child should be working on to find a toy that might challenge them in these areas.

                                             Our Pots and Pans Band!

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