Gifs For Kids In 21st Century: Toys Vs Game Apps

buying gifts

Buying gifts for kids was never an easy task. There are so many possibilities. You can buy something useful like clothes. But they will only appreciate it when they grow up. You can buy books. But that works better if you know the kid and whether his or her hobbies include reading. Food can work too, especially sweets. But then the parents might frown upon you (if it’s not your kid, that is).

baby with toysRecently, I had this problem myself. Spending Easter with boyfriend’s family meant I will meet his niece. 7 years old girl is charming. When you don’t know her well enough.

As I don’t have kids of my own, I recollected my childhood. Always used to get a lot of books. Pictures, colours, text with a lesson encoded – sounds about right. Barbies worked well too. But I don’t know this girl good enough. So, why not asking someone who does?

“What should I buy for your niece?” I asked cheerfully.

“Don’t bother. The only thing she’s interested in is smartphone games”.

Easy Way Out?

kids on phonesTechnically, this piece of information supressed in one single sentence was giving me an easy way out. Buying an app is simple. Activity I did multiple times for myself. I always had a tendency to play some silly games on my phone as well as something more “sophisticated” and “adult-like”, for example, pay by phone casino games. Don’t judge – when you play smart, you can win a lot. But that definitely not a game for 7-years-old.

Either way, I could easily buy an app. Suitable for children, of course. But do I want to?..

Our society is spending so much time on their phones already. I mean, you’re probably even reading this on one, right? It’s fine up to some degree. Reading news in the morning. Way faster than getting a newspaper or going online on your laptop. Playing games on your phone is a good way to kill time during the commute to work. Phone keeps you updated about your schedule, calendar, tasks, perhaps even encouraging healthy habits such as drinking enough water or walking/exercising more.

old-fashioned toysBut is it really healthy for a primary school pupil to spend free time on smartphone playing games? It might be fun and fine for some time. Especially if the games are educational. But reading books, playing outside or even inside with some more common toys can be so much more fun. And not that much addicting or damaging eyes.

Call me old-fashioned, but I won’t buy the app. I will probably buy some toy that she will never use. Or perhaps try to play with her myself to distract her from smartphone games.

Game apps are fun when you are adult and know your limits. No matter whether it is FarmVille you play or slot machines for real money. Childhood is the time when we form our habits. They might change over time and evolve but if you spent all your innocent years playing games on phone, what’s to say you will want to do anything else later on?

Is your iPad a toy?

ipad dammage to kids


Like any toy, a tablet can be a device to learn as well as a cause of damage.  Here’s my take.We recently asked you whether toys are good for our child. While the article did raise some eyebrows in the social media, our next question will probably see more nodding heads. The question is this: Is giving an iPad to a child a good thing?

The potential damage of an iPad

What we learned as kids was that carrots improve your eyesight while watching TV for long periods of time damages it. Actually, none of it is true. The debate about the effect of carrots  has been going on for years now.

And, while watching TV may result in eye fatigue, if it would really hurt your eyesight, all millennials would be already blind. However, potential of damage is not in your eyes, it’s in your ability to focus.

In her book The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.  explains how human brain is still in its Neanderthal state. She talks how thousands of years ago reacting to every little noise could save you (imagine a tiger hidden behind a bush). The same brain draws us to every phone notification for the same ‘what if’ reason. Especially, because it’s no more life-threatening. On the contrary, we check our phones for constant gratification.

ipad kids

So, now think about a little child. A toddler with an iPad playing a game. A great example is Coin master, it’s a community game but very much like any game of pokies for mobile phones. You get spins every day. You either win coins to improve your city or get hammers to attack others.

Imagine what a game like this is teaching…no, doing to a toddler’s undeveloped brain.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing mobile games just for the sake of it. There are tremendously beneficial games and apps teaching players to sing, draw, count, etc.

However, reluctantly dropping a tablet next to your child just because you are tired and need an hour of quite time is wrong and will probably come to haunt you in the future.

help kids with ADHD

Maybe not?

Maybe we will come up with ways to help kids with ADHD? Maybe our brain will adapt? I do not claim to have all the answers, but I also cannot sit still without even asking the questions first. I would love to know what are your thoughts!

Are toys good or bad for kids?

This is a question that is best answered by things done and given in moderation is always advisable. More that is never good. There might be some toys which are not good even when given in moderation. Hence it all comes down to what purpose you buy the toys for, if they toy is safe and how you allow your child to use it. We would answer the question by summarising it into the following points:

  • Moderation:

Like we keep mentioning, do everything in moderation. Don’t buy too many toys unnecessarily just because your child likes it. As parents, we understand that you love your child a lot and want to provide everything you can. However, you should also understand that love doesn’t mean providing real luxury all the time. Your child does not need nor require too many toys. We would also suggest you not to let your child spend all his or her time in playing with the toys. You are the parent hence you can always maintain a proper amount of time for playing. Even if your child resists, do make them understand why you are taking their play time away. They might not listen initially, but if you set a proper timing for spending time with toys and then arranging the remaining time for other productive tasks, your child will learn to adjust quickly. Hence toys are good if they are given in moderation.

  • Educational toys:

When you buy toys, do aim for educational toys. Educational toys are fun, and at the same time, your child learns one thing or the other. Hence toys are good if your child enjoys playing with it yet learn skills at the same time.

  • Real world:

If your child spends too much time with his or her toy, there is a good chance that he or she keeps living in a world with toys only. Your child’s interaction with you, siblings, other family members and friends will lessen. This is not a good sign. Yes, there are toys which require other people to join in and hence social skills can develop. However, there are also many toys which promote individual play. Even with toys that are meant for more people to join, some children still play on their own. These are not bad, but if your child spends too much time with it then instead of developing social skills, your child will learn none.

  • Demands and expectations:

Toys are not good if they keep increasing your child’s demands and expectations. This is related to the first point. If you provide toys in abundance, your child will not realise the value of the toy. Children don’t necessarily acknowledge nor realise the price of toys. If you keep providing them, what they understand is they can keep having more. Expectations increase, and it will be difficult for you later on. We are not telling you to stop supplying toys. Just keep the purpose of why you are buying and how it will affect your child in mind.

Things to keep in mind when you buy toys

We have mentioned that toys have both pros and cons. If you choose wisely, then it can be a source of great learning and development. Hence we would like you to keep the following in mind when you buy toys for your child:

  • Quantity and quality:

Don’t buy many toys just because you have the money to. Buy it according to the need of the moment considering how it would help your child. You should also keep in mind that good quality toys are important. Children usually put toys in their mouth or play with it with a lot of energy. If the quality of the product is not good, then you should think twice. Cheap quality products can emit chemicals harmful for your child. It can also cause allergic reactions in some children.

  • Safety:

It is always good to keep the safety of your child in mind when you choose toys for your child. Do check and go through what the toy is made of. Go over the components while thinking about your child. For example, if your child is a baby then your baby will definitely put the toy in his or her mouth. So, will the toy be harmful? Can your baby swallow the toy? Generally, toys from big companies will put a disclaimer that certain toys are appropriate for certain age. Hence you can check that and see if it will be safe for your child. Another significant thing to be noted is done whatever is written on the cover. If there is something to be careful about, companies usually give warnings on the label.

  • Appropriateness:

Another thing to keep in mind when you buy toys is how appropriate it is for your child. You should consider your child’s age and see how your child would use the toy. If you buy a very complicated toy for a young child, then he or she probably won’t even use it. For example, in an attempt to let your young child of about four years old learn about problem-solving, you might give the Rubik’s cube. It is not appropriate because your child won’t be able to solve even one side. You can give it 2 or 3 years later.

  • Purpose:

Before you buy a toy, do ask yourself ‘why are you buying the toy?’ Many parents these days use toys as an excuse for their time not spent with them or as a source of bribe to get their child do something. In these cases buying toys is something we would highly NOT recommend you to do. This is because your child will get used to the habit and keep expecting it in future. The pattern can move on to even teenage and adulthood which will make it very difficult to deal with your child. Toys cannot be a replacement for you and your time. Buy toys which will increase your child’s cognitive, creative, social and physical skills.

Benefits of toys in helping your kids learn while they play

We are aware that many parents are conscious when it comes to buying toys for their children. Too much or excess in everything is never good. That is what we believe when it comes to toys too. There are both pros and cons to it. However, one thing we know for sure and what child experts have also always mentioned is that toys can be a very useful tool for child development. They can contribute to the development of different skills in your child. Therefore we agree that it is good to be careful on choosing toys and how you allow your child to use it but don’t restrict your child. Here are some benefits of toys in learning:

  • Cognitive development:

A lot of toys help in the contribution of cognitive development in children. These toys help your child think, be curious and experiment. Problem-solving skills also get developed.These toys Some of the toys good for this are Play-Doh, puzzles, Rubik’s cube, Lego blocks, peg boards and sand toys.

  • Physical development:

Toys like Lego, Play-Doh, peg boards, etc. contribute to the physical development of kids. Physical development through toys is especially required and important for toddlers or children with sensory and physical impairments. These toys can be very useful to develop fine motor skills and can also contribute to cognitive development. Many professionals have used Play-Doh to work on fine motor skills for children with Autism.

  • Social skills:

Toys like teddy bears, dolls, cars, action figures and any toy that can be used for roleplaying is crucial in developing many skills amongst with social skills is one. Have you noticed your child playing with the toy, talking to himself or herself, taking on a role and playing it out or roleplaying with friends? That is exactly where many skills develop. Your child also develops abstract thinking because he or she takes on a role, imagines how that role will be played out and then finally acts it out. Your child can also develop a healthy self-esteem. When your child plays with these toys amongst friends, he or she can learn about socialising and turn taking.

  • Fun:

You might wonder why this is on our list. But yes learning to have fun can also be learning in life. Toys can be educational yet recreational at the same time. If we train our kids only to develop skills that we want them to have in future, their childhood will be lost, and they will not get it back. It is good to teach them skills and train them for the future, but at the same time, everything has to be done moderately. If they are trained to just study or develop only certain skills like cognitive, for example, and just focus only on it, they will miss out other crucial things in life. Toys can help your child learn to have fun alone and with others. But like we mentioned earlier, everything should be done moderately.

Best facts about Toys that you must know

Toys have coloured the lives of children. It had accompanied us when we were kids, and now toys continue to be an important part in the lives of children in this era. During our times or even before that, toys might not have been as grand and well-made like how it is in this era. However, we had one or the other form of a toy whether it was bought from stores or made by our elders. Although toys are seen as tools for fun purposes, there are many interesting facts you might not have known about. Here are some of them:

  • Did you know that toys mean tool? The word toy means tool which originated from an old English word.
  • Do you know the full form of G.I in those cool G.I?Joe toys you have seen? It is Government Issue. Joe. Did you also notice the inverted thumbnail on the inside of their left thumb? The producers made a mistake, but later on, they continued making it that way to honour their mistake. You will also find all the figures having a scar on their cheek.
  • The name of your cute and pretty Barbie toys was inspired by the creator’s daughter whose name was Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  • Did you know the history of our adorable Teddy bears? Theodore Roosevelt who was the 26th President of the United States of America gave the idea and started producing teddy bears. His idea came from one of his encounters with a bear cub when he went hunting. The bear cub was wounded, and he didn’t have the heart to kill the bear so he came back and created the famous teddy bears that a lot of us can’t sleep without.
  • Who doesn’t love LEGO toys right? Children, without a doubt, love the LEGO toys and adults are no exceptions. However, did you know that they produce the most number of tires in the world?
  • Although there are millions of toys in the world today, McDonald’s are the largest distributors among them. Kids who visit McDonald’s rarely leave without the free toys. Can’t blame them right?
  • Who doesn’t love playing with Play-Doh? Even as adults, playing with it can be a great pastime. Originally Play-Doh wasn’t meant as a fun product for kids. It was created as a tool for cleaning wallpaper. It was remodelled for play purposes. Play-Doh was called initially called Rainbow Modeling Compound. Did you also know that Play-Doh has been used by professional child psychologists to build rapport and understand children?
  • It took the inventor more than a month to solve the Rubik’s cube! Apparently, there are more than 43 quintillion permutations possible for the Rubik’s cube. When doesn’t that seem impossible to solve? Only less than 6% of people in the world can solve it. One of the fastest records set was 3.2 seconds. Guess who did it? No, it was a robot! And the cool part is that the robot was made of Legos