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The Best Toys for Your Child

Brought to you by the National PTA.

Here are some guidelines for choosing toys that encourage healthy play. Look for toys that:

Can be used in a variety of ways

Promote creativity and problem solving by letting your child decide what to do

Can be enjoyed at different ages and developmental stages, growing with the child

Will continue to be fun and engaging over time

Can be used in combination with other toys for more complex play

Promote respectful, nonstereotyped, and nonviolent interactions among children

Add a new dimension to play beyond your child's current toys

Avoid toys that:

Can only be used in one way

Make children use the toy exclusively in a way defined by the toy's designer

Appeal primarily to a single age or developmental stage

Your child will become bored with after a half hour

Channel children into imitating scripts they see on TV or on movie screens

Do special high-tech actions for the child instead of encouraging the child's own exploration and mastery

Lure children into watching television or other media that is linked to the toy

Encourage violence and stereotypes that can lead to disrespectful and aggressive interactions

Adapted with permission from the T.R.U.C.E. Toy Action Guide (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment), P.O. Box 441261, West Somerville, MA 02144.

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