Imaginative Play…

October 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

Imaginative Play….the best education you can get!!

Imaginative Play….the complete opposite of a “watch me” toy.  A “watch me” toy is really cool for about 5 minutes…but if it doesn’t offer great interaction, well, you’ve just thrown those dollars right down the drown.

But a toy that inspires the imagination, that is loved for years, that is passed down…now that’s value and that’s learning.  Yes, educational toys are an essential part of play…but don’t underestimate the amount of learning that happens when children learn to create on their own.  There is nothing worse that hearing “I’m bored”…when you know there’s a room full of toys waiting.  So let’s figure out how to make them play.

Let’s start with Buzz because he is such a fine example.  Think about Andy (Toy Story) and how he played with Buzz and Woody….it’s exactly how children should be playing with their toys.  He created a world around them…he loved them and they were a big part of his life.  In fact, his toys were such a big part that all of us “adults” cried during the 3rd movie.  What did you have when you were growing up that inspired the same feeling in you.  For me it was Barbie and Ken…and my Dawn dolls were the little sisters (ok…so who remembers Dawn??). 

My kids loved the Playmobil Victorian Dollhouse (and they had every single piece of it, as well as the circus).  They created all kinds of scenes and changed all the rooms.  Because I was a doll lover…all of my girls received dolls on their birthdays from Madame Alexander and Lee Middleton…so that they could share in my love of dolls.  And love them, they did.  Clothes are lost and hair is tattered…as these dolls were loved to pieces.  My middle daughter has (yes, she is 17 and still has) a collection of Corolle Calin dolls (3 of them) but she named them all Lindsey…and went no where without them.  When she travels now, she does leave them behind (but still in her bed)..and we will see what happens next year when she goes to college. 

Imagination is one of the most important things for our children to develop.  They will learn to be creative, learn to inspire, and have the ability to entertain themselves as well.  They will also have life long memories from their favorite toys that helped them sleep through the night and gave them years of enjoyment.

So let’s start with Toy Story 3 Blast Off Buzz (and all his friends, like talking Woody and talking Jessie).  Kids will spend hours upon hours recreating scenes that they’ve seen in all 3 Toy Story movies…and than create their own.  This collection of toys will be cherished…and not just by the kids, but by the grownups who also love everything Toy Story.  This Buzz has light and sound effects and pops out his wings to fly.  He knows when he’s in “fly mode” and when he’s a space ranger or just a toy!   I’m also a huge Woody Fan, and this talking Woody has “hat technology”….you’ll have to just check this out for yourself, but very cool!

While GoGo My Walking Pup normally wouldn’t fit into this category for me, there is a lot that is very special about this dog.  Before I get into the “cool” aspect, let’s talk about the size, because it’s just right.  And while GoGo is for both genders, it will definitely tug at the heart strings of little girls who want a lap dog (like my nieces who love my real lap dog….but can’t have their own…guess what they are getting for the holidays?)  GoGo is a remote control pup so he can go for walks.  He walks straight ahead and to the right and left…so very easy to control.  And he has touch sensors on his body…touch his head or his sides and he will bark and make doggie sounds that you’re kids will adore.  The best part, if you child forgets to walk or feed GoGo, no problem for you, and GoGo will still love your kidsJ

Thomas and Friends:  Adventure on Misty Island:  I love this preschool building set by Mega Bloks.  As we celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Thomas (wow) and the 25th of Mega, kids will be won over immediately by this play set that they build.  Everything here is buildable, including Thomas and his friends.  What I love most about this set is that it’s not a flat surface build….this set builds up!!  Kids will love the dimension and the fact that they build it.  Once built….imagination can take off.  This provides hours of play that can be shared with parents and friends…but also played alone. 

Thomas is on a “roll” this holiday season with such a big anniversary, so I do need to mention some other great Thomas items, like the Follow Me Thomas.  New technology allows Thomas to follow the beam of light on the floor.  This makes for an easier and very “cool” radio control experience for a child who is 2+. 

Liv Dolls….I love dolls (could you tell by the beginning) and I especially love the Liv collection.  It’s my Nature is an expansion of the line that began last year.  The story is about 4 teenagers and their lives.  Each of the girls in this collection explore nature and all have an online life featuring daily diaries, fashion and webisodes.  Dolls are easy to pose and girls will give these a life of their own.   Children playing with these dolls can imagine themselves living their lives in school, after school, and out in the world.  They can “Liv” in their world because it so closely resembles their own.

Playmobil has always been a favorite of mine.  As I already mentioned, my kids had the Victorian Dollhouse and the circus…and everything that goes with it.  All of this has been handed to my two young nieces who are now getting just as much enjoyment as my own girls did.. Playmobil toys will be passed to generations of children, and the Play Along Puppet Theater is no exception.  Kids will create their own puppet shows and the stage even has sound effects.  This comes with six different figures and changeable scenes, and everything gets stored in the puppet theater.

Star Wars Imperial AT AT for kids 9+.  Creative thinking and imagination does not stop at 7 or 8.  And if you give kids the right “toys” they will continue to build worlds, create and recreate scenes from their favorite movies, and add to the collections.  The AT AT is a dream of a playset…and while geared toward boys, any Star Wars fan (and even those who are not) will flip when they see this (I did).  This playset stands at over two feet high and two feet long.  Its modeled after the Imperial Walkers from the Empire Strikes Back and has multi levels and compartments to hold figures and vehicles.  Lots of sound effects and motion…this is a winner!!

Remember that the best toys for kids of all ages will encourage them to think and to create.  This starts at the earliest stages but will continue with the right choices.  Think about the last time you sat down to play blocks with your child, or build a gingerbread house (I can get lost for hours in a project like that with my kids).  My daughters all garden with me, we create, explore and imagine and whatever it takes to inspire this is all worth while.  Imaginative learning and creative thinking at a young age teaches our children to branch out and reach for the stars.

The Toy Insider Mom

www.thetoyinsider.com

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Entry filed under: children, toys, families, gifts, holidays, holiday toys, infant toys, hot toys, choices for kids, teenagers, little kids, moms connecting, new mom blog,. Tags: , .

October is……. Babies and The Big Toy Book

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