WMU News

Buying toys that stimulate development

Nov. 24, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- Remember the toy that came in the big box and how much more fun you had with the box than the toy inside? With a little work and a lot of imagination, the box became a house, truck or submarine.

Today's children aren't any different. In fact, children like toys that stimulate creativity, says Dr. Ariel L. Anderson, WMU associate professor of teaching, learning and leadership and an expert on early childhood development.

"I'm always pro art project and construction toys, where kids can do their own thing," Anderson says. "I also like books and recommend staying away from gender-typed toys."

Games that reward strategy and problem solving rather than luck, such as 'Clue' or 'Scrabble,' also are a good bet, Anderson says, "Anything that stimulates creativity, independent thinking, or that keeps the child active and physically engaged is good for the child's health," Anderson says.

Though some video games should be avoided because of their violent quality, there are others that promote growth and development, Anderson adds. "There are a lot of good, educational video games," Anderson says. "But I'm against any toys that depict violence, because kids really do play it out in reality. Aggression begets aggression.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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