Choose Safe and Appropriate Toys As Gifts

Edited by Vanessa Alexandra Avisado, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn and 1 other

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Do you remember how your kid's eyes got wide and his face lit up when you handed him his gift last Christmas? A year older now, he will still definitely be delighted when he sits near the Christmas tree to rip the wrapping off his gifts this year. Kids will not always be kids, but they will always love to get gifts or toys from their parents, godparents and other people who adore them. This is why most parents and gift givers love giving kids gifts of toys for Christmas and their birthdays; their happiness and laughter are so infectious. Giving them playthings is certainly a great way to make them ecstatic. Yet you do not want them choking on small parts or worse, ingesting lead from the toy's paints without you being aware of it. You do not want them to fall off the stairs or have an accident just because the toy is not appropriate for their age.

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Gifting kids with toys is great, but it is equally important that you take the time when you choose safe and appropriate toys as gifts.

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Understanding Toys as Child's Treasures

Toys are always a delight to children and adults.

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Come into the room with a toy in hand and you will immediately see the anticipation in the children's faces and hear their squeals of joy. All attention is riveted on the plaything and nothing else. For adults, toys often bring back memories of childhood - that doll or truck they wouldn't let go because it was given to them by beloved parents. Years later, a toy of a child who has now grown and left the nest may still be on that shelf, or a there may be a big doll in a corner. Those are memories that have not faded through time.

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Any item that can be used for play is a toy. That is the simple definition that holds meaning through the ages. It is mentioned in man's oldest literature and old toy items have been unearthed that include whistles shaped like birds, toy monkeys and small carts. Let it not be forgotten that the one toy considered to be the "oldest and most universal of human toys" is the doll. Toys in the past were made of materials from nature – wood, stone and grass. These were carved and shaped by hand and were just treasured for the fun and joy of playing with them. Today, toys are mass-produced and made of cloth, plastic and other synthetic materials, and of complex designs. The choices are wide and varied, but what one should look for are safe and appropriate toys as gifts for the children.

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Are toys only for play?

On the surface it may appear so, but toys really carry more importance than that.

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  • These are the tools a young child uses to learn about the world.
  • By playing with different toys designed to improve dexterity, practice skills, learn about cause and effect, practice reason, challenge their creativity and mind, and more.
  • Toys offer adults the opportunity to teach their children, strengthen bonds, remember the fun times of childhood, and share their pleasure of toys that are unique and collectible that grace her living spaces.

Toys are stimulating objects that allows one's creativity to go into full swing.

  • Picture a young girl playing house and a boy playing doctor. Both showcase a section of life that young kids don't understand fully, but find real. Other examples are housekeeping and that of helping others.
  • Toys help in educating children, which will help in their physical and mental development and lead them to acquire skills that will come in handy in their later years.

What to Look for in Toys

You go to a store and get overwhelmed with the quantity of toys that dazzles in design and color, as well as the price factor. Expensive does not necessarily mean quality and a "must have". When choosing a toy, you must consider the personality of the child, and his likes and dislikes. As the parent or guardian, use this guide to check out if the toys are safe and age-appropriate.

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  1. 1
    Strong Construction.
    Is it well-made? You'll know when you try to pull off a button, the eyes, or other parts and ornaments, and they end up in your hand. It must stand up against easy breaking. The child may squeeze it, throw it and at times, step on it when bored. It should remain intact; if not, return it or dispose of it properly. Don't give away or donate damaged toys or those with missing parts.{
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  2. 2
    Make sure it is safe from toxic substances like lead.
    It's good to have antique toys, but let them remain on the shelf, not in your son's hands. Old ones may contain lead, but be on the look-out for new ones that are not painted with non-toxic paints as well. This is particularly important when buying arts and crafts, or toys with liquid.
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  3. 3
    Fabric and Stuffing.
    Is there fabric and stuffing in the toy? Make sure to choose the non-synthetic ones and those that are flame-resistant.
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  4. 4
    Hardware.
    The hard parts should be fine not rough and should not pinch or perform any scissoring action.
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  5. 5
    Nonelectric.
    Do not buy electric toys for children under eight years old. Toddlers are ever curious and may plug or unplug the toy, and taste the batteries.
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  6. 6
    Small Parts.
    The toy should not have any parts small enough to get into a child's mouth and any moving part should be enclosed.
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  7. 7
    Sharp or pointed edges.
    A toy can be a weapon, so all toys should be smooth, with no wood splinters and no points that can injure an eye or cause puncture.
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  8. 8
    Stability.
    Large toys should set well and not topple over when placed on the floor if a child straddles or hug it.
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  9. 9
    Muted sounds.
    Toys that emit continuous sound or noise should be avoided, as they may damage a child's hearing. Teach the child not to place these toys close to their ears.
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  10. 10
    Weapon-free.
    Don't introduce kids to guns and fighting knives. Teach them not to touch any sharp instrument in the house.
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  11. 11
    Strangulation dangers.
    Ropes or strings on toys should be as short as 12 inches and loops small so a child can't pull it over his head. Tie-up ropes of window blinds so children cannot reach it.
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Why Pay Attention to Age Guidelines

There is a very important logic and message behind age guidelines. Age-appropriate toys are analogous to safe toys. These terms are fundamentally related to basic developmental abilities of the kid, so it is intended to keep them safe when playing or to avoid accidents because of it. These are always the special concerns when buying gifts for infants and toddlers.

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As you buy the gift, be thoughtful if the toy can do more good than harm to the kid you have in mind. Intellectually advanced kids may find pleasure and manage very well playing with toys for older children, but certain kids can also be developing later than normal. The best way to gauge what toy gifts fit a kid is by spending time with them. Personal observation and knowledge are indeed productive in this case.

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So, how do you choose toys based on the age guidelines? Why not check out these ideas for specific the age groups?

  1. 1
    Young babies.
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    Perfect toys are those that look bright and those that make cute sounds. Squeaking and rattling toys that can catch their attention make good toys. It is important, however, to make sure that the soft and malleable ones don't get reduced in size to the point they become too easy to choke on it. Crib gyms and mobiles can make them happy until the baby can easily grab them easily.
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  2. 2
    Older babies.
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    When your infants start to comfortably sit up, introduce them to colorful blocks, stacking rings, nesting cups and pop-up toys. If you like your baby recognizing those letters early, get them vinyl books with large and colored pictures.
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  3. 3
    Terrible Toddlers.
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    You can't make them sit still long enough. All they can think of is to move a lot. So, think of toys that can match their hyperactivity. Think motion - large balls, digging tools, toddler play structures, plastic cars, bikes and trikes are all great choices. For indoor play, when they are ready to settle down a bit, give them art supplies – play dough, markers, crayons, and finger paints. Think of toys that can make them slow down for a while, such as toddler's puzzles.
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  4. 4
    Eager Preschoolers.
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    This is a great time to titillate their imagination. Take them to the make-believe land. Let the boys dress up as princes, warriors, or superheroes. Let the girls have fun with Barbie's magical world and the Disney princesses in their beautiful gowns and tiaras. You can also introduce them to occupations with toy stuff for doctors, chefs, and farmers.
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  5. 5
    Explorers:
    Ages 6-9.
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    These kids are ready for the real world. They are eager to learn to ride scooters, skates and bikes. They want games and toys that will challenge them physically and intellectually. Make sure that you also provide them with protective gear like helmets, knee pads, elbow guards and such. Indoors, you can challenge with board games, craft kits and science sets. Pick one that satisfies their interests. Computer games are the trend these days.
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  6. 6
    Eager-to-grow Pre-teen:
    Ages 9-12.
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    These kids can't be attracted to "baby games and toys" anymore. They like to mimic big boys and what they like to do. Around this age, you will notice them developing their budding interest for something that they may pursue for life. Computer games can be very addicting for this age group. You can stimulate their interests, if they seem to be hesitant, by giving them equipment for sports they frequently watch on TV, or magazines about nature, crafts or literature. Take mental note of what they will grab and bring to the room.
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  7. 7
    Not-so-eager Teens.
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    Many tend to think that this is the rebel age group. Parents, who were from another generation may have difficulty understanding them or what interests them. Taking time and effort to know what they love to do or read will let you decide the right gift for them. What music do they listen to? What kind of movies do they watch? What do their friends do that they are most likely want to do too?
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

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  • Having fun in the big outdoors. Big outdoor equipment and toys – swings, seesaws, sandboxes, and even tree houses - should be age-appropriate. The same rules apply – no rough edges, sturdy, no small parts, and no exposed hardware are generally applicable.
  • Safe locations.Swings should be six feet away from the house, trees or any obstructions to prevent accidents.
  • Keeping it clean. Sandboxes should be fresh and clean and covered when not in use. These should be off limits to babies and toddlers who may "taste" the sand.
  • Shoo the pets. Keep pets away from sandboxes for sanitation reasons.
  • Don't leave kids unsupervised. Because outdoor or ground toys can encourage swinging or climbing, falls are inherent. Supervision is indispensable and making sure the grounds are free from sharp and pointed accident-causing hazards is critical. Make sure to do regular inspection on these toys to make sure that they remain "roadworthy."
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Parenting | Communications & Education

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Anonymous

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