What Makes a Good Toy?

Toys are the tools children use in play. Every plaything should measure up to this tall task. Below are some points to consider when purchasing toys for the little ones in your life.

Is it Safe?

A good toy should pass the drop test and a lot more. Be it wood, metal, plastic, or fabric, the basic material should be durable and well-finished. Avoid toys with sharp edges and long cords. Abide by any age-specific safety warnings, such as small parts which may present choking hazards for children under three years old.

Is it Age Appropriate?

The play activity should developmentally suit the child's age. Check the toy maker's recommendations and believe in the "+" sign. Ages 3+ does not mean your 4-year-old has outgrown it. If in doubt, consult with the toy experts. ASTRA specialty retailers are very astute when it comes to matching activities to specific ages.

Does it Engage the Child?

A good toy should encourage open-ended play, invite exploration, and engage a child's interest beyond a short sitting. Toys should be hands-on tools – not watch-me players. A child should be able to power a plaything – even a battery-operated toy – with his or her own ideas and imagination.

Does it Expand the Child?

A good toy with play value benefits the child at a particular stage by introducing and reinforcing age specific skills. A great toy grows with the child, helping her or him advance from one developmental stage to the next.

Does it Add to the Toy Box?

A child needs a variety of toys and different types of play activities. When selecting a new toy, consider one that adds balance to your child's busy play.

Is it Fun?

Most of all, a good toy is fun to play with. Dull and boring, regardless of benefit, have no place in a good toy box.

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