What to Look for in a Toy
No one said that purchasing toys for young children was easy. There are many different factors that go into what makes a toy appropriate for a young child, and at this age, these factors are extremely important. Take a look at the checklist below to determine whether or not a particular toy is appropriate for a three-year-old.
Does it Inspire?
A good toy should inspire a young child’s imagination and allow them to play with the toy in new and inventive ways. Compared to a toy with limited potential for imaginative play, a toy that sparks a child’s imagination will keep them entertained and learning for longer periods of time. Best of all, toys that inspire a child’s imagination are usually more simple and less expensive than toys that don’t do as much to stimulate the imagination.
Simple toys usually allow more room for creativity and imagination. Wood blocks can become skyscrapers, cars or aeroplanes. The box the wood blocks came in can quickly become part of a fort. Toys that are less simple typically inspire less creativity and have more rigid parameters for play. For this reason, simple toys are another great way to foster creativity and imagination in the child.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These types of toys provide kids with the basic skills they’ll need in these fields through play. STEM toys are great because they truly do make learning fun. Often, the time children spend playing with STEM toys helps set them up for success in their future studies in the classroom.
It may go without saying, but you’re going to want to look towards toys that are well made, sturdy and unlikely to break. If you’ve spent any amount of time around a three-year-old, then you’re well aware of just how easy it is for them to break seemingly everything.
When it comes to playing, every child wants to excel at what they’re doing. This can be extremely difficult when the toy is not age appropriate. Toys that are intended for older children will often stay at the bottom of the toy chest where they’re ignored until the child is finally old enough to enjoy it. That is if the toy is even still working at that point.
Playing it Safe
Before we go any further, it’s important to acknowledge the importance of safety when it comes to toys for children. At age three, a child has a fairly well-developed sense of danger and what kinds of things they need to avoid so that they don’t hurt themselves.
At the same time, it’s still VERY easy for a three-year-old to get themselves into trouble with their toys. For this reason, we need to turn our eyes to the different factors that make a toy safe and appropriate for a three-year-old.
Despite the fact that manufacturers must go to great lengths to ensure that the toys they’re selling are safe for children to use, there’s no way to ensure that a toy is completely 100% safe. In fact, toy related injuries in England have increased by 60% over the past two decades. The best way to ensure that children are safe as they play with their toys is to provide them with constant supervision. At the same time, it’s impossible to supervise children every minute of every day. This makes it even more important that you’re providing the child with toys that are very safe.
What to Avoid
- Sharp edges or points
- Parts made of glass, or plastic which may break
- Any toy with small parts that can break or be pulled off that could fit into child’s mouth, nose, ear or eye
- For toys that are painted, make sure the manufacturer uses nontoxic, lead-free paint
- Toys with hinges or parts which can pinch the child’s fingers
- Stuffed toys that are filled with beads, beans or any other material that the child could rip open and choke on
- Hand-me-down toys that have been used and show signs of wear
- Toys with battery doors that clip into the bottom of the toy where they can be removed by the child to reveal the batteries inside
- Toys made of fabric should be flame retardant
- Toys that are stuffed should also be washable, either by machine or by hand
- Art materials must be non-toxic, and if possible they should also be washable
Picking a Winner
When you consider all of these great options, it’s tough to pick just one. But, there’s one toy that we believe emerges as a clear winner: The building block set from ETI toys. This STEM toy is a perfect way to teach little boys about important subjects like math, science, engineering and technology.
This toy includes a whopping 92 pieces and includes a durable storage container to ensure that all of the small pieces stay put. All it takes to have hours of fun with this toy is a little bit of imagination.
Best of all, kids will be learning as they play. With each toy they build, they’ll be exercising different skills that they’ll need in the future. Parents will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that this toy is completely safe thanks to its BPA free, washable components. If you’re looking for a toy that will help foster creativity, fun and learning all at the same time, this may be the perfect option for you.