- We’ve been working with Get Qurious on their amazing education toys and games, specifically the Get Qurious Maker Box and most recently, the Get Qurious Explorer Box. I’m excited to have them reach out and share insights on Mommy Engineering on how to choose the best toys for boys!
This article first appeared on Get Qurious and this version has been edited for reader preferences. Click to see the original article on Get Qurious.
How do you choose quality toys for boys? Finding the best educational boys’ toys that spark curiosity, discovery, and a passion for learning is especially difficult. Experts believe that the best toys for a boy’s future success are ones that also foster emotional and social development, spark his imagination, and encourage cooperative playtime with other children. Developing these types of skills through creative, educational boys’ toys and social play activities are essential for developing a boy’s ability to collaborate, innovate, and problem-solve—all must-have skills for performing effectively as an adult in the global economy.
To choose the best boys’ toys for their long-term development and success, the following four tips can guide you in finding fun, stimulating, and educational toys for boys that will engage them, plus also prepare them for interacting with others in their world.
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4 Tips on Choosing the Best Toys for Boys
Understand the Value of Play and High-Quality Toys
Quality playtime sparks children’s imaginations and allow them to safely discover the world around them. True play allows human beings to spend time enjoying their passions, with low risk for failure. Educators and experts all believe in the importance of humans to play, whether it is by themselves and with others. The best toys for boys provide the flexibility to allow them to play by themselves, cooperatively with others, and competing with others.
- Alone PlayPlaying by oneself is often a first step in gaining confidence with an activity or skill that a child is learning. Think of an infant playing with blocks – he is building dexterity that will allow him to use for real-world tasks in the future. Later as a young boy, he may play alone drilling himself on a sport skill such as kicking a soccer ball into a goal. This can help him gain confidence for when he is competing on the field in a higher-stakes setting.
- Cooperative Play Playing with others – and not against others – is a skill that needs to be constantly reinforced among boys. Studies show that young boys tend to move away from cooperative play to favor competitive play as they get older. However, cooperative play provides boys with social skills such as learning to help others, sharing with each other, and exchanging ideas. Cooperative play such as building a puzzle together with a parent or assembling an elaborate train track set with a friend is necessary to develop trust in others.
- Competitive Play While some parents have less interest in involving their boy in competitive play, justification for its value does exists. Competing against others allows boys to strive for performance improvement, to learn sportsmanship, and to win-or-lose in less low-risk scenarios (hopefully) than they may experience later in life.
Know the Power of Play
Play can occur in different ways and take on various forms, with each type of play having a certain usefulness for a child’s development. Knowing the benefits that can be derived from play can help you choose the best toys for the boys within your world.
- Critical Thinking & Imaginative PlaySome toys allow boys to escape into fantasy worlds and act out behaviors that are highly transferable to the real world. Perhaps a boy playing with a paramedic vehicle may develop interests that lead to a medical career later in life. If the toy goes beyond imaginative play to also involve critical thinking that play pattern goes to ‘the top of the class’ of best toys for boys.
- Social Interaction and PassionToys and activities that involve imaginative play may also help boys to become more expressive in their real-world environment. Through role-playing, boys may be more capable of expressing emotions or positively interacting with others in their real world. For example, play-acting a firefighter helping a person to escape a burning building may foster empathy for an injured person or someone in need.
- Motor Skills & Multi Modal DevelopmentToys and play activities can also help to develop gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and other necessary physical development that helps in learning to read (ie: eye-tracking) and write (ie: fine motor skills). Creative craft kits, drawing, and coloring activities are all great activities for fine motor development, while individual and team sports are quintessential gross motor skill activities.
Look for Skill Development Through Play
Children amass skills and competencies in many ways throughout their development.
- Baby and Infant StageStarting from infancy, they are viewing, listening, and interacting with their world to help their brain development, eye focus, and facial cue recognition. They are also communicating as best they can through crying, giggling, smiling, and reaching. Products such as mobiles, rattles, play mats, and plush animals are all considered the best toys at this stage of development.
- Toddler and Preschool StageTheir skill development and competencies should broaden beyond their immediate real-world environment. Toys and activities that develop imaginative play and fine/gross motor skills are excellent for this stage of their development as they experience, fantasize, and discover the world around them. Examples of the best boys’ toys for this age range include train and track sets, and role-playing costumes for firefighters, astronauts, doctors, or other community service jobs.
- Early Elementary StageThis is a critical stage when children can either become engaged and passionate about learning, or they can become distracted and under-motivated. The best boys’ toys and activities at this age are ones that evoke curiosity or imaginative play in the real and digital worlds, since kids at this stage also need to develop skills in technology and STEM learning for their future success.
When choosing a toy for your kids, what do you look for? Get Qurious recently asked a panel of moms and I made it on the list!
When I look for a learning product/toy, I’m looking for quality. I want a product that will withstand the hardship of being owned by a child but also ingenuity. I want to promote creativity with products that have the same idea. Lastly I look for longevity of the product, how long my child could use this product; will it grow with them through the learning obstacles he will encounter in the next 6 months or 2 years?
Check out the entire post on Get Qurious Blog & see what other fellow moms had to say!
Explore Where Technology Meets Toys & Games
Today, tech toys/games are the fastest-growing segment of the overall Toy Industry. The escalating trend of combining technology with play and learning is the result of its ubiquitous nature in a current child’s world. Since it is also absolutely-essential for their future academic learning and career success, both parents and educators are now embracing the best boys’ toys as ones that incorporate technology in play and learning for this age group.
Toys and games that help in the development of skills needed to use technology are instrumental in children’s academic success and confidence in interacting with others. In fact, studies show that if a child is not well-versed and comfortable with technology, science, and math by the beginning of Middle School, they are less likely to head into the essential STEM courses and careers later in life.
Interestingly, some of the best educational boys’ toys and games are now going beyond STEM exposure and learning, to involve STREAM – Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math. The reason for this expansion from the basic STEM learning is highly-regarded, and deserving of its more recent attention in play and learning.
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These 4 tips can help you confidently choose the right toy for your boys. What tip stood out to you? When you’re looking for a toy for your child, do you think about these concepts? What are things you look for when you’re looking for a toy for your child?
I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think about this article! Don’t forget to show some love to our guest author: Get Qurious!
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