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My Thoughts On Children's Toys

 

As a parent, especially a first-time parent, it can be rather daunting to delve into the world of toys.  As a parent of 2 and having close to 30 years of working in the toy industry, my experience is that each toy can be an educational tool, helping to stimulate while also entertaining your child.

 

After having nearly 19 years in retail, and now I am working in the importing/distribution side of the toy/gift industry. Importing and distribution is a completely different side of the industry.  Retail was a great way to see first-hand the toys that attracted the children’s attention – a lot of which was influenced by TV and advertising, but that seemed to be ‘fad toys’ and so would be very short lived. Also retail was a way of finding what parents wanted in the way of things to simulate, educate and entertain.

 

The basic ‘hardcore’ toy, a ball, a doll, building blocks, puzzles, art and craft or a game can keep your child entertained for hours. One experience I had as a retailer was a customer coming into the store just before her child’s birthday to purchase a present – her child was unable to leave an umbrella alone and asked his mum if he could have one for his birthday... mum said that she would see… a couple of days later Mum came in and purchased a globe of the world that lit up as a night lamp, and was very pleased with her purchase, umbrella you say? No, that was not purchased.  Next day – waiting for the shop to open was Mum saying that her child was most upset that he had not received his umbrella – that was all he had wanted! Mum said ‘next time I will listen’.

 

I am not saying to cater to all the demands – far from it, but the simple things can be the best. A ball can assist with eye-hand coordination and a small block which clicks onto another or just stacks on top can take a child’s imagination to new levels.  These basic toys can help develop skills that are essential as your child grows.

 

If you are fortunate enough to have assistance of grand-parents or a person who can help with the care of your child, the more simple the toy is the more interaction they will tend to have with your child – technology is not easy and tends to have the effect of isolating children from interaction with others, young and old, especially those who have not grown up with new technology. As you get older you tend to remember toys you had as a child and remember the joy you got from them, whether it was a doll, a train or kite… you will remember the joy you got from playing with them.

 

Toys are to be enjoyed – by the child who receives them and by the parent who gave them. 

Mike McKinstry
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