The holiday season is just around the corner, and whether you are ready for it or not, your kids are already thinking about which toys they are hoping to receive. While your kids might have visions of iPads and video game systems, you might be envisioning a new wooden train set or big box of paints as the ideal holiday gift.
What type of toy should you go with? Technological or traditional? There are pros and cons to each side, so you might want to consider giving both types. For example, you could give your child both the Disney Frozen Small Doll Variety Pack and a sing-along edition of the movie from a major retailer like Walmart. The following points can help weigh the pros and cons of traditional versus electronic toys:
When it comes to encouraging your kids to use their imagination, nothing beats tactile traditional toys, states WEAU. Building blocks can be transformed into skyscrapers, play food sets change the coffee table into a gourmet restaurant and wooden train sets allow kids to construct tracks that wind throughout the playroom. These all help to boost a child’s vivid imagination unlike technological toys that often tell a child what to do next. As a bonus, these types of toys get your kids off the couch and moving around.
While technology has definitely grown leaps and bounds over the past several years, its ability to foster outstanding social skills hasn’t caught up to traditional toys. Traditional toys tend to do a better job of teaching kids how to get along with others. Instead of playing a one-person game on a hand-held screen, kids who are playing with Hot Wheels or sharing a box of crayons are talking, problem solving and learning how to communicate what they are doing, explains ABC3340.
When your kids use your tablet or laptop, they are doing more than looking at whatever the colorful characters on the screen are up to—they are learning. The cognitive processes your kids use with technology are pretty much the same as what they use during traditional learning, claims Scholarpedia. This includes things like self-regulation, higher-order information processing and motivation. In other words, while building a tower with actual blocks helps children with cognitive abilities, self-control and language, moving computerized blocks around during a game of Tetris may actually do the same thing.
While many tablet-based games are usually played alone, kids still can have the opportunity to interact with others to learn appropriate social skills. For example, several online games like Minecraft offer servers where kids can gather together in a virtual world. They can communicate with each other, learn to play fairly and learn how to follow the rules. And, when kids get together to play video games on a system like an Xbox 360, they are learning to get along by sharing a controller, discussing strategies and encouraging each other to get through the next level.
Even though it may seem like technological and traditional toys are worlds apart, they often offer very similar qualities. Kids can use any of these toys to create, communicate and learn how to interact with others. So, it is up to you on what makes your holiday wish list. Happy shopping!
INSTEAD OF GIVING A TOY HOW ABOUT GIVING THE GIFT OF MUSIC OR ART OR GYMNASTICS – SIGN UP FOR A CLASS OR A CAMP ON ACTIVITY ROCKET!