Category Archives: Toys

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.