Old school toys educate, entertain
As the holidays approach, parents and grandparents should note that they don’t have to spend a fortune on great toys that educate and entertain children.
Although high-tech toys are popular — and oftentimes expensive — they don’t always provide the interaction necessary for children to learn communication and social skills.
“These toys can sometimes be overwhelming for children and only appropriate for solitary play,” said Suzanne Bonifert, who heads the speech-language pathology program at UT Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders.
Bonifert says parents have a fairly inexpensive option: Back-to-basics toys.
Here are a few examples of how these simple games and toys can be used to prompt learning, while also having fun:
• Puzzles—These are a great way to teach children how to request for things by asking for the puzzle pieces by name, teaching them how to take turns and how to answer questions.
• Memory game — Teaches turn-taking skills, which are essential skills for conversation.
• Mr. Potato Head — Can be used to teach children the names of body parts.
• Farm set — Teaches preverbal skills (animal sounds) as well as builds on the use of play sequences
• Dolls or stuffed anim — Interaction with these aid pretend play (feeding the baby, putting it to bed)