Take a Toy Inventory
There are two sides of play: the science of play, where play is a critical aspect of your child’s development and the art of play, where your child is a player, perhaps with a parent, sibling or friend, where there is joy, pleasure and freedom. Having toys, free time and flexible space to nurture both kinds of play inside and outside the home is important to helping your child reach his or her full potential.
The Qualities of “Good” Toys
• Appropriate for the child’s age and developmental level
• Keep the child’s interest
• Will stand the test of time and can be used by your child in a variety of ways for years (Legos, for example)
• Safe and durable
• Stimulate learning
Create a List of Toys in Your Home under these Categories
• Active (ride-on toys, outdoor or sports equipment)
• Manipulative (construction toys, puzzles, dressing toys, beads, blocks, bath toys, sand or water toys)
• Make-believe (dolls, stuffed toys, puppets, role play, transportation toys)
• Creative (musical toys, arts and crafts materials, digital music or tablet devices with creativity apps)
• Learning (games, specific-skill toys such as science models, computer or tablet devices with learning applications, books)
Toys don’t have to be expensive or take over all the extra space in your home. Review your inventory of toys and see if your child’s toys meet the test as “good” toys. Then offer good toys in the range of categories so that your child can play, learn and grow in a variety of ways.
In addition to her role as supervisor of Valley Medical Center’s Children’s Therapy, Kari Tanta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is also a clinical assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Washington. The seventh edition of Occupational Therapy for Children and Adolescents textbook includes a chapter on Play authored by Dr. Tanta and Susan Knox, PhD, OTR/L.
To contact Valley Medical Center Children’s Therapy, call 425.656.4215. valleymed.org/childrenstherapy