When it comes to toys, nothing beats reality

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re still Christmas shopping for kids, there’s one detail you might want to consider when buying a gift.

What kind of box does it come in?

That’s because the young one on your list might be better off playing with the box the toy comes in.

While advertising pushes educational and brain-stimulating toys, often based on tablets, kids are better off playing with traditional toys like blocks, puzzles — and even cardboard boxes.

“A cardboard box can be used to draw on, or made into a house,” Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, co-author of a report on toys for children up to about 5, told the Associated Press.

Simpler hands-on toys that parents and young children can play together are preferable for healthy development, he said.

Encourage your child to play with blocks or a box, and you’ll definitely be bucking a trend.

More than 90 percent of U.S. kids have used mobile devices, most of them before age 1, according to studies.

But according to the report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, heavy use of electronic media may interfere with children’s speech and language development, replacing important playtime with parents, and leading to obesity.

Instead, they recommend no screen time for kids up to age 2, and total screen time, including TV and computer use, less than an hour a day for ages 2 and older.

"A little bit of screen time here and there is unlikely to have much harm if a child otherwise has other activity," Mendelsohn said. But he added that screen time can overwhelm young children and is difficult to limit and control.

Virtual reality is the latest thing in electronic entertainment, but when it comes to child development, nothing beats real reality.

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