* This article on Classic Toys originally appeared on BrainPlay.com * www.brainplay.com

The Value of Classic Toys
Dr. Toy shares her wisdom

April 16, 1999
by Dr. Stevanne Auerbach

Dr. Toy really appreciates classic toys. I feel certain you too share in the good feeling of nostalgia and enjoyment that is connected to these special products.

Have you noticed that many of the toys that you played with as a child are still available now to share with your children? These classics have lasted over time. They continue to prove their value and will delight your child. The joy of sharing a toy with your child that you played with, is a special treat.

Just that is a classic toy?

A classic toy is many things, but there are some aspects to these toys that remain so perfect over time:

  • Durability. Simplicity in style and 'star qualities' make them all-time favorites, such as checkers, chess, hula hoops, kites, marbles and yo yo's.
  • Consistency - The toy that is simple in shape and responds based on what the child does with it. These toys give children a feeling of accomplishment because the more they practice with them, the better they become. For example, the more a child practices with a yo yo the better he or she can become in doing the tricks. This practice provides hand/eye coordination and dexterity and all along each step of the way the rewards are satisfying.
  • Creativity - By expanding their own imagination, kids are encouraged to experiment using classic toys. Think about how children use a puppet. They use their own language, their own artistic expression and they explore without limit to achieve their own goals. The puppet forms the object that encourages their language development and spontaneously stimulates the play of the moment. Markers are wonderful, too. They become the child's backdrop to the play, the reflection of their observation of objects around them or the fantasy they imagine in their dreams.

"New" classics

Here are some terrific toys that fit the criteria for classics:

  • The RainBoMaker makes a great gift and will remind you of ancient rainsticks that make sounds when shaken. This one not only makes sounds, it combines colors in the tube so you hear the rain and see the colors of the rainbow.
  • Your child will love the variety of trains offered by Kouvalias. Young children can pull apart these trains and then put them back together again.
  • For the young builder who wants to explore, without limits, select one of the best classic toys ever...building blocks. A good choice for the master builder is the 40 piece block set by Edushape.

Look around

Watch for these other great classic toys that have been around since you were a kid. Most of them are found in the small toy section in your grocery store. In fact, you may already have some of these in your attic:

  • Bubble pipes are fun to use and help develop breath control. Everyone will get lots of pleasure in seeing the bubbles floating in the backyard.
  • Checkers offer simple strategy, learning to take turns and the enjoyment of playing again and again.
  • Chess helps develop more advanced strategy.
  • Gyroscopes allow the child to understand the challenge of gravity and basic principles of physics.
  • Hula hoops encourage children to exercise and develop physical skills.
  • Jacks provide easy-to-learn skills and stages of mastery, plus hand/eye coordination.
  • Kites are a fun way to enjoy light breezes and learn about gravity and air currents.
  • Tops provide on going balance and learning.

The care and feeding of your classics

Encourage your child to learn more about toys by visiting your public library and reading information about them. Sometimes a book about the history of dolls or trains can fascinate for hours.

Help you children learn to care for their toys so that they understand they are special and must be treated well. Have a special place for them and set aside a time for pick-up. These are wonderful products to introduce to your child when they best fit their age and readiness.

You'll often find that the adult train enthusiast began as a child setting up the layout for his or her first train. Or, the avid doll collector started learning more about dolls when given a special one from a grandmother. Children are influenced by these early experiences and will grow to enjoy lifetime hobbies if given the opportunity. Watch for more about classic toys in my new book, Dr. Toy's Smart Play: How to Raise a Child with a High P. Q. (Play Quotient).

About the Author

Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., known as Dr. Toy, has been writing, speaking, and consulting about toys and children's products, child development and parenting for more than 30 years. In 1987, she founded the world's first interactive toy museum, The San Francisco International Toy Museum. Dr. Auerbach, has written many books and articles for parents and professionals. Her latest book, "Dr. Toy's Smart Play: How to Raise a with a High P.Q.(Play Quotient)" by St. Martin's Press, focuses on the importance of play from baby to older children, and assists adults in understanding and fostering play experiences. Dr. Toy evaluates and reports on toys and children's products for Dr. Toy's Guide, the award winning magazine-format website (drtoy.com) and for her weekly syndicated column, "Dr. Toy," distributed by King Feature's Syndicate to 1,500 newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Contact: Dr. Toy, 268 Bush St., San Francisco, CA. 94104 or her.


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