“Mommy, I’m bored…” is definitely one of the most common phrases to come out of my child’s mouth. Over the years, I have learned how to defend against the inevitable boredom that sets in after my children spend too much time playing with the same toys and games day after day. The versatility of a child activity table has been a lifesaver for me and my kids.
I have found that setting up a comfortable table that is full of different designs and colors entices my children to play and stimulates their imaginations. As the kids color books or draw, they improve their hand-eye coordination and enhance their motor skills. While they build impressive building block structures or assemble dominoes, they are nurturing skills like problem-solving and creative thinking. The child activity table is also a great place for my kids to interact with friends. They love showing off their artwork, and I love watching them build social skills.
Most child activity tables are also low maintenance. I find it very easy to clean up spills, wipe off marker and fold it up for easy storage. I would definitely recommend that any parent or grandparent set one up. It is a great tool for fostering ingenuity and helps keep the childhood years free from boredom.
Choosing the right toy is essential in determining if it will become a cherished item or if it will sit on a shelf and gather dust. The last thing you want to do is buy a toy that never gets any play. Age appropriate toys are toys that are specifically geared to the developmental stage of the child, corresponding in age and readiness. Children use their imagination and creativity best when they’re playing with an age appropriate toy, because it stimulates their interest and engages their specific developmental level.
There are many indoor toys available for all different ages. The easiest way to determine a child’s readiness for a toy is to refer to the guidelines on the packaging. You’ll often read, “For children ages 2 and up” or “For Ages 3+” on the toy’s package. There is some leeway here depending on the child’s development, but be careful not to choose toys too far above or below the package guidelines or you could be wasting money.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you determine if a toy is age appropriate for a child:
- Many toys prohibit use by younger children. This is usually for safety reasons – it’s possible the toy contains small parts children can choke on. Be aware of this when making a purchasing decision.
- Think about what the child is currently capable of doing – is she a two-year-old who is capable of getting onto a riding toy and scooting around? Is he a six-year-old who would love creative play in outdoor toys like a sandbox, or indoor toys like musical instruments or a pretend kitchen? Sticking to their developmental interests is a sure way to keep them engaged.
- Always choose toys that encourage children to use their imagination in fun and creative ways. By choosing toys that encourage creativity, you are choosing toys that will hold your child’s interest for a long period of time. For children two and up, consider toys that allow the child to pretend – whether it’s indoor toys like a kitchen or playhouse or an outside toy like a lawnmower or grill. Children love to emulate what they see around them, so let them.
- Choose toys that encourage activity. Children love to climb, slide and ride. Be sure to check out toys you would normally consider “outdoor toys”, as many are small enough to be suitable as indoor toys.
- Check out a toy before purchasing and evaluate what you think its durability will be. If a toy won’t hold up to playtime, it’s not worth the money.
Do your children love to play with kids toys that you found in the attic or basement? Although these items may seem like a lot of fun, they may not be completely safe for your children. Luckily, retro/classic toys are coming back into style. You can find many child play toys that you, or even your parents, played with as a child in their new and improved form. When you are looking for great toys to give as gifts or something unique to surprise your child with, consider purchasing a “new” classic toy.
A fun activity for children is playing house and setting up a kitchen to have a party. Think about how excited your son or daughter will be if you give them a 50’s Diner set up. This creative toy comes with a booth for the kids to sit down and order a milk shake and hamburger. If your kids have ever watched the older television programs, they will love the feel of the old style diner. You will be amazed by the hours of fun they can have “waiting” on their customers and even playing 50’s music.
To go along with the classic diner, you may also enjoy the Cozy Kitchen. If your son or daughter enjoys helping you in the kitchen, it may be beneficial to put these cute kids toys close to your own dining room. With the classic design and all of the amenities, your kids can enjoy fixing dinner while you are busy getting the meal ready for the family. It is important to allow your children to express themselves and use creative play to learn how to do everyday chores.
If your father or grandfather enjoyed a train set when they were growing up, finding the perfect train set for your toddler has never been easier. You can find a new and improved plastic train set that your son or daughter will enjoy for years to come. Even if you still have your set from years ago, you may not want your small children or grandchildren playing with the set until they are a little older. You can give them their own classic set up that is durable, but still offers all of the fun.
Whether you are looking for child play toys like cooking activity sets or ride on toys, you can find great classic items that are coming back into style. Although you may be tempted to go digging through the attic to find the toys from your past, it will be safer to find the “new” classic toys that are made with your child’s safety in mind. Let your kids enjoy playing with the same kinds of toys you enjoyed as a child and get them away from the television and computer and into creative play.