The ten tips are:
1. Pick and Mix – children gain most from play that’s varied, so buy a range of toys
2. Pink is for boys, blue is for girls - if boys want feminine toys and vice versa, that’s fine
3. Keep it simple – always choose a toy your child can cope with; avoid those that are too complex for their abilities
4. The right place to play – children will have the most fun with toys when they feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings.
5. Let your child choose – children who are encouraged to get involved in choosing toys will play with them for longer.
6. Team toys - choose toys that encourage children to play together as social play is important.
7. Going it alone – solitary play is also important including models, construction toys or craft kits.
8. Get active – outdoor toys like ride-ons can keep children active, fit and healthy.
9. Use your imagination – ‘let’s pretend’ with, dolls, puppets and crafts materials is one of childhood’s most pleasurable and important forms of play.
10. Safety first – always consider safety when buying toys. Most of the toys on the British market today are carefully made and safe to play with but here are some useful and simple guidelines:
• Always buy from a reputable retailer who is a member of the Lion Mark Scheme.
• Be vigilant when buying from street traders and fairgrounds.
• Look for the Lion Mark, an indication of safety and quality.
• Beware of second-hand toys - there is no guarantee that they are safe.
• Follow the guidelines. If a toy is ‘not suitable for children under 36 months’ take this literally. If a toy is ‘recommended for children aged 3-4’, use your discretion.
• Check for sturdy, well-sewn seams, sharp points and rough edges. Ensure eyes and noses are fastened tightly.
• Choose the right toy for the child.
• Keep toys meant for older children apart from toys meant for younger ones
Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, chairman of the NTC commented: “The National Toy Council hope all families have a fun, safe and happy Christmas and enjoy their toys and play throughout 2010.”