Child’s play: Experts discuss how important it is to pick the right toys for development and to IGNORE gender-specific labels

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Press release

Experts have revealed just how important it is to pick toys which aid children’s development and encourage their emergent interests, rather than choosing toys which relate to their gender.

UK online discount code website, Voucher Angels, recently carried out a study by speaking with experts in the field to discover just how important child’s play is. Plus, why we should all be conscious of giving toys to children which are not just purely focused upon their gender.

Shane Furstenberg from The BabyPillars Team shared which toys children should be given to aid their development:

‘’From 1-3 years of age, small children prefer to play with their parents. Our ideas are simply more intriguing, surprising and exciting.

“Parents help toddlers save the story, extend their concentration, adapt their brain a little more, and solve problems creatively.’’

For young toddlers, a great idea is to explore toys which will allow you to interact with that child. Not only will this strengthen your bond, but it will also help young children to problem-solve and aid their brain’s concentration development.

Shane also discussed toy ideas for slightly older children:

‘‘Around the age of three children become increasingly skilled in imagination games and scripts become richer and more detailed.

“They are now able to play with other children, but still invite parents to a common game often. You may find that the little ones are quite demanding during the game, and tell you exactly what to do and how.’’

A clever idea for children in this age bracket is to focus on toys which allow them to be more imaginative and creative, plus, to involve playing and sharing with other children.

Interestingly, Anna Seawald, founder of Authentic Parenting, discusses the importance of parents not buying too many toys for children around this age:

‘‘When it comes to toys, the principle is less being more.

“The less toys children have the better engagement they have with them, they have time to explore the small number of toys they have, and their play becomes more focused, meaningful and lasts longer.

“When it comes to investing in toys, consider this. Will it grow with my child? Can my child play in many ways with this toy?

“Playthings that promote open-ended play, that foster creativity and imagination. And, these kinds of toys are usually gender neutral which will allow children to come together, engage and collaborate more with the toys which they have.’’

Chris Kernes, Family Therapist, discussed how beneficial it is for kids to pick their toys.

‘‘Kids should be given an opportunity, and allowed access, to play with toys they want.

“Research suggests that if we remove the gender-specific label on toys, it helps reduce gender stereotypes.

“When children are given the opportunity to explore and play with the toy of their choice without hesitation and judgement, they can express themselves freely.’’

Top 10 toys which promote development and imagination, according to experts:

  1. Puzzles
  2. Art supplies
  3. Dress-up
  4. Animal figurines
  5. Musical instruments
  6. Interactive books
  7. Traditional toys – blocks, dolls, cars and trains
  8. Board games
  9. Physical toys – like the hula-hoop
  10. Painting sets

Voucher Angels are also asking the public what their favourite toy as a child was, to celebrate children enjoying toys for toys, rather than their gender-specific labels.  Below are some of the responses:

Share your toy story with Voucher Angels over on their Twitter using hashtag #mytoystory.

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