shopping should NOT be childs play!
toy shopping time and, as usual, parents are confused
on what to buy! Gift giving seems to be about ripped
packages, trendy toys, huge boxes, lots of plastic,
then days later kids are no longer interested in their
newest treasures. Sound familiar? Why does this happen,
year after year?
with hot toy lists, devised by crafty executives, parents
are led to believe certain toys are the ones to buy
during the holiday! While parents are busy scurrying
around to find these hot hyped toys at the mall or on
the internet, they may not realize what is really happening:
the media is directing what toys to select for their
child. Research shows that toys are developmental tools
that a child uses to grow intellectually and emotionally.
Each play experience enhances a childs learning
Toy Shopping is a business and not many people know
in September, toy industry publications, magazines,
news reports, and individual self-acclaimed toy
gurus appear in the media with lists of the so-called
best and hottest toys just in time for holiday
of these lists of toys are chosen with efforts masked
by marketing awards, public relations and advertising
campaigns to spread a message on what to buy. Here are
some of the ways this is done.
picks: Journalists create their own list of preferred
toys and label them our picks". Sometimes,
these are a round-up list to reflect the personal
opinions of the writers.
choices: Contrary to what is said, kids are NOT toy
experts. The Experts are the qualified educators who
study what kids learn during play. Research shows
that given a choice of 5 toys to choose from, a child
will pick 3 or more that they like regardless
if they will play with them later. Applying this formula
to the popular magazine toy tests, you can understand
why so many choices are titled, the "best toys."
toy tests - These are seasonal in nature. Small groups
of unstructured focus groups are conducted with children
or undemographically diverse day-care centers. Results
indicate their choices for an entire population. Many
times these are coordinated by a TV producer/reporter
Spokespersons-Hired by toy companies to appear on
TV to claim their toy is among the best, these people
profit financially from their efforts.
Stickers- Sold to toy manufacturers as a revenue source
to make money. Sometimes, reviews for these stickers
are done with as little as one child playing with
a toy to obtain results.
Hot toy lists- Compiled by retailers who want to sell
you toys based on their own inventory.
Opinions; Some people just claim to be an expert and
tell you what they personally like.
Industry Publications and Media Events- Supported
by toy companies to expose the newest toys to consumers.
Masqeueraded to the media as the :best of the
season, this is not much more than a trade show
for the press!
reading toy lists, keep in mind the credibility of the
source and choose toys based on a childs individual
AGE, NEEDS and personal INTERESTS. Each child is different
and while one personality type may like puzzles and
another may like sport or social toys, this does not
mean both may like the "hot hyped" toy of
The best thing a shopper can do is to forget these lists.
Use them as a guide and follow 3 easy steps before making
a decision on what to buy?
What does the child have already? (Stacks of board
games, tubs of building blocks, shelves of books)
Take a quick INVENTORY of your childs collection
and see if there is a type of toy missing from the
playroom. A new kind of toy will trigger interest
and intrigue once opened!
Parents think kids need a lot of toys,
then regret having so many around the house! It is
best to have a variety of TOY TYPES, so a child uses
a range of developmental skills.
It is imperative that toys are chosen which are age-appropriate
and are of interest to a child. Choose toys that "MAGNIFY
a childs current skills and challenges those
they need to work on.
are an investment in a childs development. The
return is who your child will become tomorrow.