Mail boxes are filled with catalogs and toy mailers as the holidays approach. Children are watching the television ads, wanting nearly everything they see. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will purchase toys for the children and grandchildren in their lives.

Mail boxes are filled with catalogs and toy mailers as the holidays approach. Children are watching the television ads, wanting nearly everything they see. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will purchase toys for the children and grandchildren in their lives. After all, holidays and children mean gifts.

Are you stumped about what toys to buy? Do the ads confuse you? Do you want to stop feeding the materialistic frenzy that has taken over American life?

Look at the toys your child already has. What do they play with? Most have plenty of toys and play with about 20 percent of them.

According to Lisa Wallace, Human Development Specialist with University Extension, the following nine questions can help you evaluate a toy by the “play” value.

Can a child use this toy in more than one way?

 

Will the toy allow children to be in charge of how they play with it?
  Is the toy appealing to children at more than one age or stage of development?

 

Is the toy linked to video games, TV shows, or movies? Great toys don’t need to advertise for others!

 

Can the toy be used with other toys for new and more complex play?
  Will the toy be sturdy and not break easily during play?
  Will children want to play with this toy over time as they develop new interests and skills?
  Does this toy promote respectful, non-stereotyped, non-violent play among children?
  Will this toy help children develop skills that are important for further learning?


Remember, buy, buy, buy doesn’t spell l-o-v-e or h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s. If you don’t have the money to buy a lot, don’t give into the guilt you may feel. Time spent with your children playing a $10 game will mean more than a $100 talking dog if it’s forgotten by bedtime.



Lisa Wallace is a Human Development Specialist with MU Extension. For more information on children and consumerism, contact the Henry County Extension at 660-885-5556 or wallacel@missouri.edu.