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Give a kid a new toy -- any toy -- and odds are, you've got a happy child. Young children generally are not fussy when it comes to baby toys and kids toys, but parents should be. are more than just playthings, however, and while they need to be enjoyable, they ought to also be age-appropriate, stimulating, and secure. "Play is indeed important in the social, psychological, physical, and emotional development of children," says Vicki Panaccione, PhD, a child psychologist and creator of the Better Parenting Institute. "Toys should be considered developmental learning tools."

When choosing age-appropriate infant toys or kids toys for a young child, keep these tips in mind:
Toys that do too much do not permit a child to use her own creativity. Dolls and stuffed animals that sing or talk or direct kids to press certain buttons basically take responsibility for the play situation once the kid should be the one directing the activity. "If a toy is too special, it's limiting and it simplifies the child the capacity to use her creativity," says Panaccione. "The best toys are often the simplest ones -- like blocks -- because they allow children to be spontaneous and creative."
Set limits on digital toys and video games.
We are living in a digital age, and any parent who thinks she could keep her kid -- even a toddler -- away from computers and the like eternally is kidding herself. But for young kids, particularly, it is crucial to set limitations. Research has suggested that digital toys pose several potential dangers for children's wellbeing and growth, such as hearing loss (from loud toys), weight reduction (from being inactive while enjoying ), and developmental and language delays. 1 recent research at Temple University showed that toys that don't take a child to do anything but observe promote a passive learning style, which can interfere with learning how to think independently.

Electronics can also impact a child's attention span, says Linda Crowe, PhD, a professor at the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Kansas State University. "Toys that have flashing lights and constant modifications and movement don't require a child to pay attention to any one thing for very long. Kids who use these toys frequently can find it difficult to concentrate on something like a book or non-moving toy."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids under age 2 shouldn't watch TV or play computer games whatsoever; children over two should have their"screen time" restricted to 1-2 hours per day.