In April 2023, the American Journal of Play published a study on the relationship of children’s games to the emotional, educational and behavioral development of children aged 0-2. The study summarized 5 tips that you can follow when buying a suitable toy for your child.
Set a goal for development when you rate the game
Do you want your child to develop fine motor skills through play, or develop their imagination and building skills?
Look for games that encourage imagination
One of the most important tips for choosing games is to identify games that require 90% of the child’s activity and only about 10% of the game’s input. For example, infants can sensory explore miniature animals (usually by putting them in their mouths) and later use them in an imaginative play in any way the child chooses. Compare that to a plastic toy elephant that makes sounds and lights, then the child will be limited in playing.
Stay away from games that reinforce stereotypes of men and women
If you limit your child to games that reinforce gender stereotypes, he may miss out on a great world of imagination and social experiences, which males and females need.
Beware of marketing claims
Tech toy makers make claims about possible educational potential without any scientific evidence. For example, a talking doll may claim to help children develop emotional and psychological skills when saying, “I love you,” and this is not scientifically proven.
Prioritize games that stimulate human connection
Studies show that caregivers are less responsive and communicative with children when they play electronic games compared to traditional games, which support the emotional and social development of children and are irreplaceable to games.
Americans spend $20 billion annually buying toys for children. In general, traditional games provide better social and emotional experiences than technological games.