We have tons of toys in our house. How can I organize them so my kids get the most play value from them?
Erin, Pittsburgh, Mom of Katie (9), Lizzie (8) Mary (6) Ben and Jacob (4)
The best way to get the most play value is to organize them so that they ARE played with. For example, board games are fun but you really need to have them in sight as a reminder to play oftern. Stack boxes by age groups on a shelf in a room that will encourage social play. Consider the kitchen and family room. Keep them in the box and neatly tape all 4 corners on both the top and bottom of the box. This will help to reinforce the box after multiple uses.
Dear Marianne: I keep reading about "tummy time" for infant play. What is that? Rachel, Greenville, SC, Mom of Robert (2 weeks)
Tummy time is when an infant lies on her tummy and practices lifting her head. Encouraging "tummy time" play helps to build fine motor support and body strength. The best kind of "tummy time" toys to look for are textured playmats that are made of soft washable material (in case of drooling) with lots of tactile sensory attached teethers and a mirror (not glass) for self-reflection and discovery. These mats can be placed on a floor, in a crib (during awake time only) and also travel well. DO NOT purchase any toys that have strings or attached pieces that could be possible choking hazards. One skill leads to another and whether you are shaking a rattle, she is touching the playmat or you are talking to her, "tummy time" is important but ALWAYS must be supervised.
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Toy Tips to Parents: Time to Unplug
Don't over stuff the toy box with tech toys. When is technology too much technology?
While tech toys are popular and some can be educational, the latest round of newcomers at Toy Fair makes it clear we're going too far into technology assisted play. It seems technology now permeates almost every kind of toy category on the toy shelves. Parents run the risk of stocking the playroom with items that undermine the important developmental aspects of childhood play.