Do you buy nothing but educational toys for your child?

What type of toys do you buy for your child? Toys for kids to be kids and enjoy their childhood, or do you ONLY buy toys that are purely educational? What are the pro's and con's for your decision? What about toys (fun and playful vs just educational) for an 8 month old vs. a 2 yr old? I've always bought both - toys that are educational and teach a purpose like animal sounds, abc's, 123's or whatever... as well as toys that are just toys... like bubbles, or balls, or a slide or cars...

All different thoughts and responses are welcome! Thank you!!

Update:

Thanks! All answers were GREAT. I totally agree that all toys are educational! I initially asked this question because my sister has an 8 mo old & I asked if she wanted some of the toys that my son grew out of (he's 2) and she said no to ALL of them; she didn't want any toys that weren't "educational" for her son. That just got me to thinking what was so wrong with toys just being toys to play with and have fun, so I had to ask all of you. I mean a kids gotta be a kid and have fun; it's not all about book learning and being smart. I'm not saying my son doesn't have a caterpillar or a bus singing the abc's or toy's teaching animals and their sounds... he's got tons of "educational" toys. But his fav ones are cardboard brick blocks, wooden blocks, lego's, trucks, tractors, bubbles, cars, sandbox & watertable. And I just wondered if I was spoiling him with having a variety of toys to play with. Or making the wrong choice by having fun toys just to be silly and a kid...

10 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I buy very few of the "Leap Frog" type educational toys. I think kids need to learn through experience, not by having a computer voice drill them. I buy lots of toys that require imagination and problem solving skills; things like blocks, craft kits, role playing toys. I also like outdoor or active type toys like hula hoops, sports equipment, etc. We buy TONS of books. Now that my kids are older (5 and 7) they prefer science stuff. My son likes Matchbox cars and superheros a little but my daughter was never into Barbies, princesses, etc, (though she does like stuffed animals). Both really like the experiential type toys we have and even choose to buy them with their own allowance.

    They like going to their friends' houses to play wii. But their friends like to come here to cook, explore the outdoors, and do craft projects!

    Bubbles, balls, and slides are not "just toys!" All three teach basic physics through experience. Slides and balls help with coordination and physical development, including equilibrium. They can all be used for make believe. Stress management and "just plain fun" are important life skills, too.

    Source(s): mom, teacher
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  • berrel
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Depends on what you consider an educational toy. I think a set of blocks will teach a child way more than a talking caterpillar toy ever will. I try to limit the number of toys that require batteries. Especially for kids under the age of 3. They're too young to truly interact with electronic toys, and I don't think they get too much out of it.

    I also think it's important to play to their interests.

    I have a 20 month old. I buy lots of books of all kinds. He's just starting to get into Thomas, so he has a few trains. He also loves trucks, so he has toy trucks, truck books, etc.

    The best toys are interactive toys that teach a variety of things, including real experiences. Often, the simpler the better...blocks, stacking and nesting cups and boxes, puzzles...things like that.

    Anything is a fun toy and a learning toy when you have an active and engaged parent and child enjoying each other.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I bought my son both. He had tons of books, flash cards, and educational games. He also had lot of Legos, hot wheels and non-educational stuff. When you think about it, most toys are educational in some way. Building toys improve motor skills, dolls and other play acting toys encourage social skills and imagination. The only stuff I really wouldn't go for was stuff that was obviously just cashing in on a craze (movie and TV show based toys, Pokemon) or stuff that I found objectional (anything too mature for my son, realistic war based toys). No matter how picky you are about what you buy, you'll probably end up buying at least one or two toys that your kid wants only because it was on a commercial or all his friends have it, that your child ends up not playing with at all.

    Source(s): Parent of a 14 year old son.
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  • 1 decade ago

    for an eight month old I would get the toys that have color and lights that stimulate, when they are eight months old its all about coordination and stimulation. So fun vibrant colors for the eight month old. I have a two year old, and I buy him toys that he will have fun playing with. We read and he asks a lot of questions, but in this day and age people are pressuring their child into knowing everything when they are 2, I want him to be comfortable, we practice colors, and we count and try our abc's but I don't buy him things that force him to know all that stuff. He is extremely intelligent and I don't ever want him to have a break down because he can't handle all the pressure society puts on him to be book smart. I love my kid and I think that I want him to know what its like to be a child more than anything else.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I buy my daughter a large variety of things. She is 18 months old and will play with everything. She really likes the toys that she can use her imagination. Her baby dolls can do anything her little brother can do, being burped, fed, belly time and even diapered.

    I don't think the educational toys are as important as the toys that mimic everyday life, like a toy sweeper. fisher price makes alot of toys that mimic life but have music, ABC's and numbers. it still can sound like a sweeper if that is what a child wants to hear. My daughter loves her sweeper, if she is helping me sweep it sound like a sweeper but if she is playing by herself she sets it to play music.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Many different toys are educational in many different ways. Just because a toy "teaches" the abc's doesn't mean it's actually an educational toy and just because the toy doesn't come from an educational toy store doesn't mean it's not educational. Kids need all kinds of stimulation and kids enjoy playing with lots of different things. Babies and toddlers and yound children are busy learning ALL THE TIME and therefore it's all educational. It's more a matter of choosing what it is you want your child to be learning and choosing toys that teach that the best. There is no reason to buy abc type toys for an 8 month old, for instance. There is nothing "wrong" with doing it as long as the toy isn't given to the child as an obligation to help them learn but, a child will not successfully learn their abc's (just as a for instance) until they are capable of learning it. Kids need to enjoy learning. That is incredibly important. Kids need to be able to explore and learn on their own and at their own pace and in their own way. Reading to a child (from birth) is a wonderful way to interact and "teach" them. It doesn't mean anything more than choosing books that appeal to you and reading them over and over to your child. And then taking your child to the library or book store and being willing to read to them a lot, from whatever books they want you to. Read to them from the same books over and over again if they want you to. Talk to them about all the books and all the pictures and all the stories. This will educate them and they won't even know it's educational. They will enjoy it because they will find it fascinating and they will love the attention. Kids love to play with sand and water. Provide a way for your kids to spend lots of time playing with sand and water -- and a few buckets and spoons. It is incredibly educational and a lot of fun and also soothing to children. Puzzles are wonderful toys and some kids like them a lot more than others but they are a great "educational" toy. Cooking with your child is a wonderful way to "teach" them. Do it every day with your child! Play ball with your child and play with bubbles and cars and trains and dolls -- let your child spend as much time playing with those things as they want to. They are all educational. Just don't sit them in front of the TV for endless hours or buy them toy guns and Barbies. Have fun with your child and they will learn the most!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There are no toys that aren't educational.

    Even something like a teddy bear is tactile and encourages imaginative play. There is an argument that imaginative play is more important than flashy "educational" toys that spoon feed a kid information and lead to lower attention spans and a need to constantly be "entertained" as opposed to entertaining themselves/

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  • hstris
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I buy both...my 3 year old is into sports right now so we just got him a basketball hoop and a t-ball set. He also loves candyland and memory board games right now. I think you have to have a combo in order to have well rounded child. Education has its time and place as does just going outside and getting dirty. They are both essential in the development of children.

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  • 1 decade ago

    anything can be educational, really.

    i could give my kids some pots and pans and they could practice putting things in and out, somethings dont fit because theyre too big, somethings are small so they fit in. they can practice cooking, playing pretend....

    pretty much all toys for kids under the age of 5 are educational because theres really so much to learn as a toddler/preschooler.

    Source(s): mom of a 4 and 2 year old
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  • ksta72
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Imaginary play is the most crucial developmental action in a young child's life... so in my opinion, all toys, or boxes, or strips of paper, or toilet paper rolls, or pine cones, etc., are educational. :)

    Source(s): mom of 5, preschool teacher
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