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As the tendency to label toys because"educational" continues to grow, parents may wonder if the hype associated with these types of toys is true and if they are worth the money. Below are five tips from education and toy experts on what to consider when picking an educational toy for your child:
Remember low-tech

The tie between schooling and toys has always existed but with the ongoing wave of high-technology educational toys, so many of the toys parents and teachers used to associate learning may no longer be recognized because of their instructional value. "The best toys are easy and open minded," states Ellen Wild, chairperson of the Early Childhood Program in Dutchess Community College.
Wild proposes giving children crayons, markers and plain paper, along with envelopes and stickers to encourage considering writing. She also points to blocks, Legos, and manipulatives (believe: stacking toys, shape sorters) to help develop modest muscles in the hands and fingers in anticipation of composing and to assist with perceptual motor abilities. Wild states she does see kids that were entertained also exclusively by toys and electronics with"bells and whistles". "A lot of these children have not learned persistence, an ability to concentrate without being amused," says Wild,"(They) haven't enjoyed being creative in their own and are not excited by learning and books."
READ MORE: The argument on educational toys
Individualize your approach
"Toys are tools in creating the learning environment," says Natasha Kravchenko, representative of Educational Toys Planet, an internet merchant since 2002. Kravchenko says it's very important to pick the ideal toy for your child's age, attention or period. And to not buy what you want or what you wanted as a kid except to buy the toy that is suitable for your child's character. She proposes thinking about which toys will make your kid want to discover something new, enhance their skills, and encourage independent learning. "You can check consumer's testimonials and manufacturer's age guidelines, but your choice should largely depend on your child," says Kravchenko,"not other people's opinion regarding the toy"
Visit the land of make believe
"The best toys are ones which foster creativity and pretend play," says Nancy Werner, Kindergarten teacher in Traver Road School at Pleasant Valley. "These toys also grow with the child and they are able to use them for several purposes."
Werner, with a four-year older, indicates dress up clothes, play food and dolls to foster imagination, creation of language and stories that result in reading comprehension and writing skills. She also urges creative games which be performed with adults or other kids, such as Candy Land, for growing counting, cooperation, turn taking and problem solving.
Be realistic

Parents should be cautious about the promises made by educational toy advertisements. "Children's development can't be accelerated," says Jim Taylor, Ph. D, Psychology, author of"Your Children are Under Attack: How Popular Culture is Destroying Your Kids' Values, and How You Can Protect Them." "Children can only grow at the speed they are capable."
Taylor claims that attempting to accelerate a child's development can actually slow down it because children are made to do things for which they aren't developmentally ready. The result is that kids are prevented from doing exactly what they should be doing at their stage of development.
" that you have conversations with children and ask them questions to help them explain and believe than to spend hundreds of dollars on a toy or video that will be only a 1 way'conversation'," says Werner.
Werner and Wild either point to books, either bought or borrowed, as being one of the best educational assets your youngster can own. And among the best tools parents can use to teach their children. "Among the best educational'toys' to get a child is an adult who spends time talking, reading, and enjoying the wonders of the world with (them)," says Wild.