Choose Toys with Staying Power This Holiday Season

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As we move into the holiday season the goal is to choose holiday gifts that your kids won’t lose interest in before we've even rolled into 2013. Advertisers put the pressure on parents to buy, buy, and buy more stuff than kids would ever need or want, creating a message that more is better. Endless commercials and self designated shopping holidays stuff this message down our throats day after day until we’re guilted into buying more.

But researchers have found that choosing gifts with lasting power makes for a more well rounded and well adjusted child later on. It also means that you save some cash in the mean time and give the planet a break--the less we consume, the better.

Sparking a Child's Interest

When you’re choosing your children’s gifts for the holiday season think of age, interests, and aptitude. So often we buy the hot toys without any consideration of what our kids may want.

Science Daily reports on the BEST approach to gift giving. Choose toys that:

• Build physical or intellectual skills
• Entertain
• Stimulate the imagination
• Teach team-centered play and socialization

According to Dale Grubb, creator of the BEST approach and Baldwin Wallace University professor of psychology, "Most people have experienced the heartbreak of gift failure. Often, it is because the item is too highly structured. When a toy is overly limited in its function, it fails to sustain a child's interest. To help prevent this scenario, ask yourself, 'what could the child do with this?'"

Stimulating Creativity and Socialization

Toys should allow your kids to show creativity while being intellectually stimulated. Avoid limiting the experience with overcomplicated toys. Build skills with games, puzzles, and trivia games. And stimulate imagination with art supplies, dolls, and musical instruments. Show your kids the importance of socialization with board games.

Last year, I gave my nieces toxin-free play dough and painting supplies and still today they can't get enough because it let their imaginations run free. Allow kids to think outside of the box, however cliche the term might be.

"Any game or toy where you see a child sitting there trying to figure out the best move is a good one." Meyer said on Science Daily. "Crayons, paints, modeling clay, among other materials, offer wonderful learning opportunities and foster dexterity."

Even as you feel the pressure of the holiday season, hold strong because overloading your kids with gifts will likely bring them no more pleasure than a few simple and thought-provoking toys.

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Tags: Christmas | Kids | Toys

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