Diane Sasser, Blanchard, Tobie M. | 12/7/2006 4:40:13 AM
"Mom, I want a …" is typically heard more often this time of year followed by the name of the latest toy advertised with lots of splash and dash on TV or in stores.
For generations, gifts have been part of the holiday season and toys play a prominent role under the Christmas tree, but think before you buy.
"It is not necessary to buy everything on a child’s wish list," said LSU AgCenter family life professor Dr. Diane Sasser.
Before dashing off to fulfill your children’s (or grandchildren’s) dreams of the latest toy, Sasser has some questions to consider:
– Does the item offer a wide range of creative possibilities? Can it be used in many different ways as opposed to having one purpose which can lead to boredom after a few days of play?
– Is the toy appropriate for the age of the child? "Although manufacturers print the suggested age range for the toy, the suggestion may not be accurate for all children within that range," Sasser explained. Consider the child and his or her capabilities. Particularly keep safety in mind. Remember that young children can choke on small pieces.
– Will the toy last beyond the first day? Will it withstand the abuse most children give their toys? "Often the toy doesn’t appear as exciting in real life as the television ads portray," Sasser said. "Then the toy is cast aside after a short period of time and you have spent your hard-earned money on a disappointing item."
Look for toys that stimulate children’s creativity. "They will be the ones your children will enjoy for the longest time," the family expert said.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture