Category Archives: children’s play


The launch of fashion dolls and role play accessories inspired by WWE female stars has helped to skew the holiday season toward empowered female characters

The 12″ dolls and action figures join Nella the Princess Knight who has a sword and the heroine in Disney’s Elena of Avalor with her magical scepter.


Pink and Blue

Genderless marketing has characterized toy ads this holiday season.

However, seeing a commercial in which a boy cooks and a girl builds a tower might not change our personal biases. Stereotypes can be buried.

Research reminds us that a child’s interests, ambitions and skills develop early. A child is influenced by toys and media. Years from now, those early experiences might impact career choices or areas of study.

Toys purchased today can make a difference in a child’s tomorrow.

Age-graded toys

When shopping for holiday toys, the “recommended age” does not imply how smart a child is.

A toy suggested for two to four-year olds is based on their developmental abilities, not brilliance.

Often, well-meaning gift givers “up-age”, assuming that because a child is smart, he can safely play with toys for older children.
That’s not necessarily true, especially when it comes to the size of parts or the complexity of tasks.

Halloween Enthusiasts Unite

I don’t know whether it was the candy, home decor or costume industry which sold the idea, but there’s no doubt: Halloween is for all ages.

Although data shows most Halloween revelers are younger than 45, more than 200 million people of all ages will celebrate. Festivities begin this weekend.

The trick or treating age has risen to include young teens, but that’s not the only up-aging: nearly half of those over-65 are involved in the holiday in some way.

The play pendulum swings

As an early childhood educator, I’m thankful the pendulum has swung back towards play.

Schools which previously shortened or cut recess, have added it back into the daily schedule. Schools which were recently built without playgrounds are having a harder time dealing with the fact that play matters.

How much playtime does your child have at school this fall? How much unstructured, screen-less play does your child have at home?

Play doesn’t cost money or require a lot of stuff. When you unpack your own playful spirit, your child might be surprised to see how creative and imaginative parents can be!

STEM again

Even JCPenney has jumped on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) bandwagon.

Interactive, STEM-based toys are included in the newly expanded toy section in Penney stores. The learning-focused playthings will be featured this fall along with Hatchimals, Shopkins, NERF, Star Wars and Hot Wheels. Just in time for…

Tech savvy=Smart?

Tech gives kids a head start. At least according to a recent study, that’s common thinking among parents.

And it is pretty amazing to see an 18 month old swish across a tablet or respond to the dancing images.

Researchers say 2 out of 3 preschoolers have access to a tablet, but parents don’t have an automatic love affair with tech. They worry about exposure to inappropriate content.

That’s a preventable problem. It simply won’t happen when the tablet is only used with mom or dad.

As an early childhood educator, I still need to ask, “What would a young children be doing if he wasn’t playing on a tablet? Would he be learning to ride a bike? drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk? setting the table for supper?