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Selecting age appropriate toys

Children learn by playing. They learn at different rates throughout their development. It's up to parents to make decisions for what play items you want to provide and how they should be used. Toys should be safe and age appropriate. You'll want to find toys that stimulate a child's learning.

Game frame : using games as a strategy for success
Aaron Dignan.
New York : Free Press, 2011.
Ever wonder why teens can spend entire weekends playing video games but struggle with just one hour of homework? Why we're addicted to certain websites and steal glances at our smartphones under the dinner table? Or why some people are able to find joy in difficult or repetitive jobs while others burn out? It's not the experiences themselves but the way they're structured that matters. All our lives we've been told that games are distractions--playful pastimes, but unrelated to success. In Game Frame , Aaron Dignan shows us that the opposite is true: games produce peak learning conditions and accelerated achievement. Here, the crucial connection between the games we love to play and the everyday tasks, goals, and dreams we have trouble realizing is illuminated. Aaron Dignan is the thirty-something founder of a successful digital strategy firm that studies the transformative power of technology in culture. He and his peers were raised on a steady diet of games and gadgets, ultimately priming them to challenge the status quo of the modern workplace. What they learned from games goes deeper than hand-eye coordination; instead, this generation intrinsically understands the value of adding the elements of games into everyday life. Game Frame is the first prescriptive explanation of what games mean to us, the human psychology behind their magnetic pull, and how we can use the lessons they teach as a framework to achieve our potential in business and beyond. Games are a powerful way to influence and change behavior in any setting. Here, Dignan outlines why games and play are such important trends in culture today, and how our technology, from our iPhones to our hybrid cars, primes us to be instinctive players. Game Frame tackles the challenging task of defining games and the mechanics that make games work from several perspectives, then explores these ideas through the lens of neuroscience. Finally, Dignan provides practical tips for using basic game mechanics in a variety of settings, such as motivating employees at work or encouraging children at home, giving readers the tools to develop their own games to solve problems in their everyday lives. Illuminated throughout with a series of real-world examples and hypothetical scenarios, Game Frame promises a crash course in game design and behavioral psychology that will leave the reader--and, by extension, the world itself--more productive. Revolutionary, visionary, practical, and time-tested, Game Frame will change the way you approach life.
     
Play : how it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul
Stuart Brown with Christopher Vaughan.
New York : Avery, c2009.
From a leading expert comes a groundbreaking book on the science of play, and its essential role in fueling intelligence and happiness throughout life. Dr. Brown shows that play is anything but trivial--it is a biological drive as integral to health as sleep or nutrition.
     
The case for make believe : saving play in a commercialized world
Susan Linn.
New York : New Press, 2008.
"In her book, The Case for Make Believe, Linn argues that while play is crucial to human development and children are born with an innate capacity for make believe, the convergence of ubiquitous technology and unfettered commercialism actually prevents them from playing. In modern-day America, nurturing creative play is not only counter-cultural - it threatens corporate profits." "In an era when toys come from television and media companies sell videos as brain-builders for babies, Linn lays out the inextricable links between play, creativity, and health, showing us how and why to preserve the space for make believe that children need to be happy and to become productive adults."--BOOK JACKET.
     
Piggyback rides and slippery slides : how to have fun raising first-rate kids
Lynnae Allred.
Springville, UT : Cedar Fort, c2007.
We are busy. Our children: busy. Our grandchildren: busy. We are busy providing our offspring with comfort, experience, and social and academic skills-and yet many parents still fail to provide their children with the most important asset of all: play. Piggyback Rides and Slippery Slides calls for loving caregivers everywhere to improve the well-being of children through the simple art of play. As you create memories with your children, you will provide them with the skills they need to succeed in life-skills like empathy, problem solving, impulse regulation, assertiveness, and creativity. As research demonstrates, children who have learned how to play are better prepared academically, socially, and emotionally than their busier, "more accomplished" peers. And as you spend time playing with your children, you will discover that spending time together is the magic ingredient to trust, even if that time is spent just feeding ducks, flying a kite, or enjoying blueberry pancakes on a lazy Saturday morning. Book jacket.
     

It's important to think about your child’s capabilities when selecting a toy. Most toys come with an age recommendation that is based on age, abilities, and skills of a child. Here are some suggestions for choosing age-appropriate toys:

  • Infants like hand-held toys, made of different materials. Their color patterns and squeaky sounds allow them to follow the toy with their eyes and ears and eventually pass from hand to hand. Soft materials toys can be cleaned in the washing machine.
  • Toddlers use their new walking skills with push and pull toys. Reaction toys with flashing lights and sounds give a sense of accomplishment.
  • Preschoolers dress in props for role-playing real-life situations. Choose toys that spark their interest like blocks for building or simple craft supplies for drawing.
  • School-agers explore the neighborhood on a bicycle. Arts and crafts and science projects will foster their creativity and satisfy their curiosity.

The Child Safety Protection Act requires toy manufacturer’s to place choke hazard labels on toys with small parts. A cardboard toilet paper roll can test small toy parts. If the toy gets stuck in the cardboard roll, it can get stuck in your child's throat.

Choking Hazard Labels

Books and music are two ways to entertain any age group. Whether you are reading to or being read to, books will stimulate the imagination. Music channels excessive energy and is a social activity with participation from the whole family.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff