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Stevanne, Ivanhoe Newswire Carolyn and Julia, Ivanhoe Newswire

Smart Play

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The Halloween sugar rush is just now wearing off, but the holiday shopping season is getting into full swing. If you've got children on your list, that probably means toys. One expert has advice on what the best toys are for your child's development.

When Julia sits down with her toys ... it's serious business. From her mom's point of view, it's a chance to talk, teach, share and dream. "I always try to have a whole bunch of different endings to stories to emphasize that women can do and grow up to be whatever they want to be," says Carolyn, Julia's mother.

Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., also known as Dr. Toy, says toys that allow for different endings help develop a child's creative side. "Toys that are open-ended give the child a chance to use his own language." Puppets, blocks and legos are some examples of open-ended toys because the kids can build up, knock down, and start it all over again.

Auerbach also recommends toys that challenge the brain -- puzzles, map games, cards, and some electronic games are good examples. She also says kids need toys that promote active play. "As children develop their play skills, they are expanding their language and communication skills," Auerbach tells Ivanhoe.

Along with having fun, Auerbach says, a toy can be a tool to help your child learn to express herself.

Auerbach reminds parents that when a child has too many toys it can be overwhelming. She recommends that after a while you take a toy away from a child and bring it back at a later date. He's likely to think it's a new toy!

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