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What makes a good toy? | #playpanel

August 25, 2011
When I think about the “good toys” in our house – they aren’t the ones in the toy box.  The “good toys” are the ones out on the floor – played with everyday.  From what I see from the attraction of my 7 month old…a “good toy” is musical, brightly coloured and durable (read — he likes to bam bam bam his toys).

I had the chance to ask Dr. Kathleen Alfano, Director for the Fisher-Price Child Research Department (cool job points to her) her thoughts on “good toys” specifically…

Is it wrong to offer higher aged toys for infants/kids – hoping they will be more challenged (and learn more sooner?). Or should parents stick to age-specific toys? – Caroline

-If a toy is challenging and it brings the child back to it again and again then it is a good toy.


– If a toy proves to be too challenging, it is up to the parent to be the child’s cheerleader to encourage them to try again. – Dr. Kathleen Alfano

Well, I happen to be a fantastic cheerleader…I was all “yay!” when he touched… 

Go Baby Go!™ Poppity-Pop™ Musical Dino
Topzy Tumblers™ Twirlin’ Tumblin’ Fun Park™
Lil’ Zoomers™ Spinnin’ Sounds Speedway™

And touched…

Laugh & Learn™ Learning Workbench  (yes, I keep it in packaging – baby likes to hang off it) 
Go Baby Go!™ Bat & Wobble Penguin

And touched some more…

Circa 2000 Fisher-Price Little People Farm, Fisher-Price Zoo, Fisher-Price tri-lingual toy, Fisher-Price musical stacker

Do you see a recurring theme in our “good toys”?!  In our house, for more than 10 years, “good toys” have been open-play toys.  Toys that attract them to touch (ok – hit in my son’s case), discover, manipulate, sort, stack, hide, find, watch, play, laugh and enjoy. 

I think it’s interesting to share that Dr. Alfano notes the areas “good toys” should hit include:

4 Areas of Development

Physical (first year and a half – two years)


Cognitive (ABC’s, understanding directions (sit/eat/bed)


Communicative (softer- Parents are key in this area)


Social/Emotional (softer- Parents are key in this area)

*When Fisher-Price develops toys, they try to incorporate all 4 of these stages.

We are offering an assortment of physical, cognitive, communicative toys (not so much social at this point).  We are finding as the days go on…baby boy is learning how to play which is helping him grow. 

And he is most attracted to the musical toys…those are his “good toys”…and they are all over the living room floor. 

Where they belong 😉


Disclosure: I’m part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own
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