Give a kid a new toy -- almost any toy -- and chances are, you've got a happy kid. Young children generally aren't fussy when it comes to baby toys and kids toys, but parents should be .Toys are more than just playthings, though, and while they should be fun, they should also be age-appropriate, stimulating, and safe. "Play is so important in the social, mental, physical, and emotional development of children," says Vicki Panaccione, PhD, a child psychologist and founder of the Better Parenting Institute. "Toys should be thought of as developmental learning tools."
When choosing age-appropriate baby toys or kids toys for a young child, keep these tips in mind:Toys that do too much don't allow a child to use their own imagination. Dolls and stuffed animals that talk or sing or direct kids to press certain buttons essentially take charge of the play situation when the child should be the one directing the action. "When a toy is too specific, it's limiting and it denies the child the ability to use her imagination," says Panaccione. "The best toys are often the simplest ones -- like blocks -- because they allow children to be creative and spontaneous."
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