Playing it safe
Noisy toys, which can be held close to the ear such as toy radios, should be avoided as they can damage hearing..
• Some toys might be poisonous and parents should look for the non-toxic label on crayons, pencils or any toys that have liquid in them.
• Shooting toys such as guns, bows and arrows and darts can hurt children. When buying these, ensure the darts have suction caps on the end. Or make sure that nothing else can be fired from the toy.
• Toys with small batteries can cause poisoning if swallowed.
• Pay attention to age recommendations. Toy manufacturers usually know their stuff, so if it says “Not for babies” then it’s not a baby toy.
There are a variety of toys in the market that can enhance intellectual, social, emotional, and/or physical development. Such toys allow learning such as pre-math skills and hand-eye coordination, writes Nanjinia Wamuswa
Like many mothers looking to incorporate fun in the development of her child’s gross and fine motor skills, Sophia Mbui bought various toys for her two children, Muthandi Mbui Wanjigi and Maina Mbui Wanjigi.
Having realised that play is the mechanism by which children learn — how they experience their world, practice new skills, and internalise new ideas — and is therefore the essential “work of children”, she set out to buy them all sorts of toys she deemed fit for their age.
However, as they grew older, Sophia further noticed the two boys preferred motorcycles over other toys such as cars, puzzles, books, animals, aeroplanes, human soldiers and teddy bears. The other toys remained untouched for long, which forced her to give them out to children of her relatives.
“After this realisation I stopped wasting money purchasing toys that did not interest them. Every time I took them to toy shops, they would pick BMX motorcycles. These are the toys I have been buying them since then,” she says.
Sophia, 40, a lawyer by profession had no idea her children were building sports careers out of liking toy motorbikes.
Today, Muthambi 14 and Maina ten are already making headlines in motorcycle racing, commonly known as motocross. Recently Muthambi and Maina were part of a team that represented the country in an international motocross competition held in Kampala, Uganda.
She says: “All signals show they have chosen motocross as their sports, and perhaps careers too.”
Mercy Bosire’s daughter, Michelle developed a penchant for toy aeroplanes at a tender age, despite having plenty of other toys at her disposal.
Early this year Michelle, ten, and in Class Four pestered her parents to take her to see ‘the real big’ aeroplane.
“We gave in to her desires and took her to Wilson Airport to see aeroplanes. She was extremely delighted and vowed to become a pilot,” her parents disclosed.
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