What Makes A Good Toy?

by in Parenting


Whether you are buying a gift or looking for something for a your child, parents are always on the hunt for the perfect toy.  The toy that will not be left in the corner 5 minutes after you have put it together and the toy that will be  when they become a parent.

Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price® Dr. Alfano defines a good toy as one that:

  • Is safe, durable, interesting and fun to use.
  • Stimulates creativity and imagination.
  • Encourages inquisitiveness and resourcefulness.
  • Is a tool for learning (challenging, yet not frustrating).
  • Invites repeated use.
  • Involves child interaction.
  • Addresses developing needs and emerging skills.

At our house it is always the toys that I least expect to be popular that are. This Summer a standout for us has been the bubble mower. We bought it 3 or 4 years ago for our oldest and from the day the snow melted our little guy has claimed it as his own. He throws on his rain boots and mows the law at least 5 times a week; mimicking his dad and closely following the ‘route’ my husband takes while cutting the lawn each week. He adds gas (bubbles) and then sets off to help keep the property looking nice. It’s pretty funny and it never gets old. Every time I think his love for the mower has faded he rummages through the shed and pulls it back out.

In keeping with Dr. Alfano’s criteria for a good toy, our bubble mower checks out on all points. Even after almost daily use it’s still trekking along, it invites repeated use and stimulates his imagination.

Also popular this Summer were building toys.  Our toy box is full of many different kinds of blocks and stacking toys.  From bristle blocks to gear sets, foam to click bricks, my boys are always constructing something.  And while I would prefer to just have one type of block, the variety gives them more options and also more opportunity to be creative.  They also seem to get along while they are building  (which is rare) and come up with what the next creation will be together.

Like most households we have quite a few ‘good’ toys.  My trick to keeping them popular is rotating them.  Every 6 weeks or so I pack a bunch away in boxes and put them outside and bring in the ones that have been on the sideline.  It’s true what they say, ‘What is old is new.’  It works every time!

“Disclosure: I’m part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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About the Author

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of GrowingYourBaby.com, World Traveled Family and The World We Share. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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