What Makes a Toy “Good”
What’s in a toy? With thousands upon thousands of toys on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down your search for the perfect toy. One thing that can be helpful is to identify the different characteristics that make a toy “good”. While the most important aspect of a toy is fun, there are several more aspects you’ll need to consider.
At the age of four, children are constantly learning, and they’re hungry to learn more and more. In consideration of that, you’ll also want to provide children with toys that satisfy that hunger for learning. That way, the child can continue to grow and develop important skills they’ll need later in life while they have fun and enjoy play.
When it comes to individual toys, it’s important that the toy meets at least one of the criteria below.
One important aspect of what makes a toy “good” is its ability to foster creativity. The best toys allow a child to embrace their creativity while using the toy in a way that facilitates their creativity. However, a child wants to use a toy is, however, they should be able to use it. Toys that do a great job of fostering creativity include art supplies, rhythmic instruments and building blocks and toys.
It goes without saying, but we’ll mention it anyway: Exercise is important! Toys that allow children to get up and get active are always a great choice. That way, kids can be active while they enjoy playing time. There are many outdoor game sets, which are especially perfect to play during summer, including: Football, cricket, tennis, badminton
Toys that allow children to tap into the land of make-believe are another great option for kids this age. Imaginary play and pretending help kids develop a wide range of different skills including social, emotional, language and thinking skills. Plus, it’s a great way for kids to be creative and feed their vivid imaginations. Buying your child a play tent or even a play house is a perfect way to help them use their imagination
Toys that allow kids to solve problems are a great way to feed their young minds while they engage in play. These types of toys pay dividends later in life by helping children to develop skills they’ll need when they’re in school. Toys that help foster creative thinking and problem solving include puzzles, building blocks and interactive games.
Appropriate For Their Age
Another important consideration you’ll need to make is whether or not the toy is age-appropriate for the child. Toys that are intended for younger children won’t do a good job keeping the child engaged, playing and learning. On the other hand, if a toy is intended for older kids, it’s going to end up discouraging your child because they haven’t developed the skills necessary to enjoy the toy yet.
If your child isn’t quite four yet, it may be worth checking our other round ups for younger boys:
Ease of Use
A final thing to consider is the ease of use of a toy. If a toy is poorly designed, clunky or otherwise difficult to use, it’s not going to captivate a child in the way that’s intended to. Toys that are poorly designed and difficult to use end up as nothing more than expensive paperweights. In short, you’ll want a toy that’s easy to figure out, that has a limited learning curve and will allow kids to achieve an advanced level of competency very quickly.
Why Are Toys So Important?
First and most importantly, they’re fun! Beyond fun, there’s many reasons why toys are critical to a child’s development. Toys help children develop a wide range of different skills that will be of paramount importance as they grow up.
Toys help children develop a wide range of skills that are imperative to their development including cognitive, social and emotional thinking skills such as creative thinking, adaptability, communication, problem-solving, decision making, consequences, empathy and more.
A Note About Safety
Fun is important, but we can’t forget that safety is the most important thing when it comes to picking out a toy for a child. We’re quick to assume that if a toy makes it to market, then it must be safe.
Too often this isn’t the case. While the government does a great job of regulating product safety, there are thousands of injuries that children in England sustain each year as a result of toys malfunctioning or being used improperly.
Supervision is the best way to keep children safe while they play, but there are going to be times where a child is playing unsupervised, and it’s extremely important that you provide kids with safe toys to reduce the risk of potential injury. Here are some things you’ll want to look for when evaluating how safe a toy is.
- Stuffed toys or dolls should be washable
- Art materials must be certified as non-toxic. Wherever possible, select art supplies that are washable.
- Provide toys that are age-appropriate.
- Any fabric on the toy should be fire retardant.
- Any paint on a toy should be non-toxic and lead-free.
- Small parts can be a choking hazard, even for older children. Avoid any toy that has removable parts smaller than 4 centimetres in diameter such as coins, beads, balls, marbles or other small parts.
- Toys with batteries should have screw in battery doors to prevent children from opening the door and manipulating the batteries.
- Hand-me-down or used toys should be carefully checked to ensure that the toy is still in good working order.
We’ve covered ten truly awesome toys that all make great options for any four-year old boy. But, there has to be a clear winner for the best toy for four-year old boys. Our favourite this year is the Wasanstore Seven Piece Roll Up Electronic Drum Kit.
This drum kit allows kids to channel their creative energy in an extremely positive manner. At the same time, it keeps the racket down to a minimum, which is sure to delight parents, neighbours, and anyone within earshot.
Included with this kit is a seven pad drum set which includes pads for the hi-hat, ride, crash, snare drum, small tom-tom, large tom-tom and floor tom. Also included is a set of drumsticks and a sustain pedal.
Integrated into the pad is a stereo speaker system which includes controls for volume, click track, demo mode and more. On the rear of the speaker system, you’ll find inputs for the sustain pedal, an MP3 player so your kid can play along to their favourite songs, and a USB port.
The USB port allows you to charge the pad, and it also allows you to connect the pad to a computer, phone or tablet to play fun drum games that will help the child learn their way around the kit.
Not only does this toy foster creativity, but it also allows the child to develop a love for music, learn an instrument and develop hand-eye coordination all at once. Plus, it’s affordable too. It’s our favourite toy for four-year olds, it has great reviews online, and there’s even a one year warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that it’s been built to last.