Choosing the right toy – a few tips from the Canadian Toy Testing Council
Choosing a toy, craft, game or book that is right for a child is partly about the child, but is also about finding something that will hold extended appeal and value. The CTTC has found that testers appreciate toys that combine great play while with skill or interest development. Children like toys that can adapt and evolve with them through play.
So how to find the best toys? Keep the following tips in mind:
Look for toys that are well designed, both with respect to appearance and construction. Does the toy have details that are appropriate for your age group? Do the materials appear strong enough to withstand normal play?
Does the toy function as it is supposed to? Does the packaging make promises it potentially can’t keep? Are the skills required to play with the toy skills that the child has? Is there a volume control and auto-shut off feature? For any electronic toy, check to see if batteries are included or required. For younger children, ensure that the battery compartment is properly sealed (such as with a screw-closure) and not accessible to the child.
Look for toys with extended play value. These are toys that are versatile and that can adapt to children’s changing needs, interests and age. An example may be an electronic game with increasing levels of difficulty, or play sets with a wide range of accessories. Is this the kind of toy that a child will assemble once and lose interest in, or is it something that can be put together or played with in various ways?
Finally, parents should always remain vigilant when it comes to children’s safety. Before purchasing a toy, consult Health Canada or toy manufacturer websites to learn about toy recalls. Inspect toys from time to time to ensure that they remain safe. Teach children how to use toys safely and supervise your children, in line with their age and type of play. Even the best toys can become a hazard if used inappropriately.
Only you know your child. When choosing toys consider the child’s preferences, personality and special skills, and try answering such questions as:
- What toys are already in your toy box at home?
- Would you like your child to continue to explore more of the same play, or are do you want to try something new?
We encourage you to review our past Toy Reports! Take a look at the 2014 Toy Report for our list of Children’s Choice and Best Bet award winners. These are the toys that appealed to our broad range of testers and had great overall scores. Many of last season’s toy and book picks are still on store shelves. Look at our ratings, descriptions and CTTC recommended ages to help find the right toy for your child. Each child is unique and parents know their child’s interests best and where they are with respect to their development stage.
If you have appreciated the unbiased toy, game, craft, and book reviews of the Canadian Toy Testing Council, please consider making a donation to our program at www.toy-testing.org.
Thank you for your support. The CTTC wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!
Ange Digout Erhardt, Liliane Benoît, and Anita Grace, on behalf of all CTTC Toy Testers