During vacation time, many children–and their parents–are looking for fun activities to keep them occupied. Parents need to look no further than their local toy store for inspiration to keep children busy, entertained and active during the summer months.
Bob Weinberg, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for KB Toys, the nation’s largest mall-based toy store, offers a few fun ideas:
Burn Some Energy-Encourage children to bring the whole neighborhood together with a friendly sports game. Baseball, basketball, badminton, and soccer are great team sports for children of any skill level. In addition to team sports, tennis is a great way to spend time with your children while teaching them coordination skills. Kids will benefit from the personal attention and everyone will benefit from the great workout.
Keep Cool-On a hot day of outdoor play, there is no better way to cool off than with water play. Spice up a game of Marco Polo by using squirt guns such as the Shield Blaster 1000 or add them to a game of capture the flag to add some excitement. Kids generally won’t mind being active on a hot day when a cool splash is in their future.
Take the Fun With You-If there’s a vacation in your plans, pack some entertaining travel toys to avoid hearing “are we there yet?” Mini travel games, such as electronic Sudoku puzzles, offer hours of fun with unlimited puzzles and millions of test questions. Video travel activities such as the Disney Dream Sketchers inspire creativity and allow kids to draw on the touchscreen and create lines, shapes, colors, and patterns.
Don’t Take a Vacation From Learning-Keep your child’s mind sharp with fun educational toys such as VTech’s V. Smile Learning Systems, which offer a combination of television and video games to create an educational experience for children ages 3 to 7. Tweens can enjoy LeapFrog’s Fly Pentop Computer that can do anything from solving math problems to recording your own tunes with a drum and keyboard.
Lastly, on a rainy day, visit a museum, nature center or even a toy store that encourages interactivity and a chance to try the newest toys of the season. Stores like KB Toys encourage kids (and kids at heart) to spend time playing with favorite toys, such as the popular Bubble Bellies Bubble Maker-Bubblesaurus. Store associates can be a great resource and can help direct you to unique and popular toys, as well as provide activity ideas to help prevent children’s boredom and parents’ headaches.
Kids can have a bubbly good time with some of today’s delightful toys-sometimes right in the store.
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It’s the age of innocence when their eyes a little brighter and their smile are full of possibilities. Their minds are being shaped by everything around them and it’s important to make sure that those surroundings are positive and promote good character traits.
For the question “are toys and video games the right Christmas gift for kids?” the simple answer is yes.
Children love toys and they love to play video games. Imagination is the greatest gift that we can give our children and toys are essential to their creative development. With so many toys on the market, it’s difficult to choose which types are best for our little ones during this holiday season. The best way to know is to ask your child to write a Christmas list. Go over the list and make sure that everything will be a positive learning, or playful, experience for your child. Avoid buying anything with an implication of violence or negative influences, which is sometimes present in current video games.
On the other hand… Video games can offer a very positive learning experience if selected carefully. They have the ability to promote healthy competition and creativity. If a child fails to achieve the next level in a video game, they are forced to come up with more creative ways to move forward. This creativity can lead to a wonderful imagination in all areas of life. Video games can also promote persistence and shows a child that patience is a key factor in achieving any goal. If a child begins playing a video game and stays with that game until he/she defeats it, this promotes patience, determination, and intelligence. The child will learn that, if he/she works hard enough, they can achieve anything. This will carry over into other aspects of life and will be a positive experience. The most important thing is, that now, the child is simply having fun and doesn’t even realize how beneficial a creative mind can be. They don’t realize that they are learning and, to them, they’re just enjoying their toys.
Toys and games are terrific Christmas gifts for kids also because they promote sharing while keeping the child entertained and happy. Some toys promote learning, such as math and board games. Others, such as building blocks, promote creativity and the ability to build things on their own. A karaoke unit could help a child overcome shyness while a Barbie doll will allow a child to make up story lines and create fictional events.
Before choosing any toys or games as Christmas gifts for kids, make sure to read the age recommendations printed on the box or noted in the description. It’s important that the age recommendations match that of your child for safety reasons. If a toy needs batteries, don’t forget to include them in the box.
Keeping in mind that children are very influential, the best gift that we could ever give is unconditional love. Perhaps you can’t wrap it up or even add a fancy red bow, but that just goes to prove that the best things in life really are free.