Simple toys better for children

colored blocksIn light of articles like this one, stating that as recently as Nov. 20, hazardous toys (containing high lead levels and other dangers) were still being found on the shelves in stores like Target, it’s validating (but really no surprise to me) to read that Simple Retro Toys May Be Better For Children Than Fancy Electronic Toys.

“Old-fashioned retro toys, such as red rubber balls, simple building blocks, clay and crayons, that don’t cost so much and are usually hidden in the back shelves are usually much healthier for children than the electronic educational toys that have fancier boxes and cost $89.99,” says Temple University developmental psychologist Kathy Hirsh-Pasek.

As Roberta Golinkoff, head of the Infant Language Project at the University of Delaware says, “Electronic educational toys boast brain development and that they are going to give your child a head start. But developmental psychologists know that it doesn’t really work this way. The toy manufacturers are playing on parents’ fears that our children will be left behind in this global marketplace.”

Golinkoff adds that “kids are not like empty vessels to be filled. If they play with toys that allow them to be explorers, they are more likely to learn important lessons about how to master their world.”

Suggested advice for parents is to “Look for a toy that is 10 percent toy and 90 percent child — ‘A lot of these toys direct the play activity of our children by talking to them, singing to them, asking them to press buttons and levers,’ Hirsh-Pasek says. ‘But our children like to figure out what is going on by themselves. I look for a toy that doesn’t command the child, but lets the child command it.’”

“Golinkoff adds, ‘The irony is that the real educational toys are not the flashy gadgets and gismos with big promises, but the staples that have built creative thinkers for decades.'”

Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek are the authors of “Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn– And Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less.”

For more advice and guidelines for selecting gifts for children, read the full article. Less really is more. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Simple toys better for children”

  1. Yes, I’ve picked up lots of natural toys, including something like what you picture above. We’re having a different kind of Christmas. I’ve noticed my 18-month-old is more engaged in play when I set out toys without batteries. He’d rather play with a toy than sit and watch the toy do all the playing!

  2. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve always felt like children’s toys are getting way out of hand with the gadgets and gizmos and such. Especially in light of the fact that, like Blessed Nest says, my daughter will play with the box more the toy itself.

  3. Great blog! I’m glad that there are others out there that know they don’t need to get their kids high priced gadgets to keep them busy. Kids want to think and be hands on a lot more than you would think!! This is why my kids and I love
    Little Director brought to us by Kabillion. It allows your child to upload their drawings, animate them, add music, voice over, and much more, while getting the chance to add them to a DVD you can purchase and own forever! This is an amazing gift either for your child OR, from your child to you or the grandparents! The possibilities are limitless. It’s also VERY easy to use and geared right to kids doing this all on their own. I work with Kabillion and I thought I would pass this site on to other parents with creative children. I sure wish there was something like this when I was a child! Check it out at and let me know what you think!

  4. Thank you for posting this! I totally agree! My sons love hand puppets, and large legos (they are too little for the smaller ones)…my youngest son loves anything huggable. So we didnt spend a lot on big expensive items. But I did sew up some bean bags, etc. And my youngest son is getting a sock monkey also sewn by me. The most expensive toy gotten was a light up doodle board for 20.00 that was one of the must have toys for my 3 yr old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *