From tablets to laptops and musical keyboards, electronic toys can do a lot…but do they enhance your kid’s brain?
You’ve seen them: the toys on the shelf that promise to “educate” your child, increase their vocabulary, double their math skills and make them into truly “smarter” human beings.
Virtual toys can no doubt be useful. When you’re waiting for that delayed flight at the airport, or sitting at home on a rainy day, getting your kid to complete vocabulary games on a screen can’t hurt them. But are these machines really that much better than regular toys?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, not necessarily so. Simple is good
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“The best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending and interacting together,” said Alan Mendelsohn, co-author of the report and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health at New York University, quoted on TheSpec.com.
“You just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen. And when children play with parents, the real magic happens, whether they are pretending with toy characters or building blocks or puzzles together,” he added.
Pediatricians warn that advertising can be misleading. Building blocks and wooden trains have been around for years for a reason, and virtual toys can actually spark less imagination in young minds than traditional fare.
So, keep those dollars in your wallet this season, for a rainy day. Unless it’s an expensive Lego set…now that’s another matter.