Have you ever been driven slightly mad by repetitive electronic voices coming from your child’s toys, or heard the same annoying tinny tune so many times in a day you go to bed with it jangling round your brain?
It’s one of the banes of modern life – but it doesn’t have to be. There are many fabulous toys which will keep your child entertained without sending you round the bend and, what’s more, the traditional, battery free toys are arguably better for your child as they let the child play in their own way rather than instructing them on which buttons simply to press to get the immediate gratification (to them) from the resulting flashing light or annoying noise.
A great example of this is the best selling Pop Up Toy from Cheadle based Galt Toys which has been around for years and for which feedback is consistently good. Other firm favourites for toddlers are the wooden animal push alongs and hammer benches both of which help develop hand eye co-ordination and which have lots of play value. The added beauty of these toys is that they also look good and at approx. £10 they’re good value for money too.
Here at Giddy Goat Toys we’re pleased to announce that we’ve recently added Wow Toys to our list of suppliers as we feel their bright and colourful toys are both appealing to young children and have lots of play value. Again they aren’t reliant on batteries, children play with the toy in their own way rather than switching it on and watching the toy move.
Of course brands like Lego and Playmobil are also fanastic for encouraging creating role play or construction, whilst our wooden train sets, play kitchens, garages and dolls houses are also wonderful for encouraging imaginative play and if dinosaurs end up living in the dolls house or trains driving round the garage ramps well that’s just fine as imaginative play should not be constrained by ideas of how a toy should be used.
Child development experts also recommend encouraging child led play in the sense of letting them choose what activities to do rather than being led by an adult. The Natural Childhood website states that children should have time to “play on their terms, in order for their minds and bodies to develop to their full potential. Unprompted adult interference, either through the provision of inappropriate materials (such as toys that provide passive entertainment) or through imposing their own script on play, however well intended, compromises a child’s innate ability to play freely and creatively.” Whilst Dr Anna Housley Juster, Ph.D. writes that “Years of research show conclusively that child-directed play... fosters the development of the whole child – children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills; contributes to school success; and is a necessary and important part of every child's life”. In this respect then, as well as being a source of annoyance, battery powered toys may not necessarily be the best options for fostering creativity and cognitive development in children.
Like many things in life it’s a question of balance – lots of modern electronic toys are fantastic fun – but a mixture of battery powered and more traditional toys is better for your child’s development as well as your pocket and your sanity.
Giddy Goat Toys is an traditional independent children’s toy shop based in Didsbury, Manchester. The staff are all parents and are happy to give help and advice based on your child’s age and your budget to help you choose the perfect toy or present.