Five Great Ways to Help Your Child Be More Creative
Perchance to Dream...
Tags: open-ended. creative play, child-centered
Posted: 2010-03-29 07:51:12 By: Joanne Oppenheim

 

All too often even their so-called free time is used up with toys that come with their own storyline or invite more watching than doing. Parents may need to be proactive in providing the raw materials that allow kids to spin their own stories and try their own ideas. Here are a few good basic open-ended toys that spark creative thinking…

 

 


2009 Award
Creativity for Kids Big Fun Crafts
(Creativity for Kids $24.95 Score: )

A wonderful compartmentalized craft box with more than 300 pieces! An ideal box of supplies for playdates, rainy days or quiet summer afternoons. Comes with supplies that include 30+ yards of ribbon and yarn, multi-colored pom poms, glitter pom poms, pipe cleaners, rainbow craft sticks, feathers, scissors, and a whole lot more to get the creative juices flowing. They say 3 & up. We'd say many of these items would be slightly better with 4-7's. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 
2008 Awards
Crayola Color Surge
(Crayola $7.99 Score: )

Magical drawing experiences when these color surge markers touch down on the brilliantly colored double-sided paper. The colors brighten up as you draw and turn colors as one marker glides over an earlier line. Sets come with 8 or more markers and 20 or more sheets. This makes a great open-ended travel toy or a good choice for some non-messy creative time for a play date. Take it to Grams--chances are she will want to try it! 5 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITY: Use these magical markers and paper to encourage kids to practice writing their names and turn the finished work into signs for the door to her room or cover of his notebook. First you write a letter...then have the child trace your letter. This follow the leader game is a great way to make work into play with a happy payoff!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 


2009 Award
Citiblocs 100 piece set
(Citiblocs $27 Score: )

These wooden blocks look like the much pricier original French, Kapla blocks. Compatible with the originals, they are all the same size pieces of natural wood.  The open-endedness of these blocks truly  challenges the builder's imagination and dexterity. The smooth and precision cut blocks are made of Radiata Pine from certified renewable forests in New Zealand and come packaged with suggested projects kids can build without glue or pegs. Also new this season, colored Citiblocs. These make interesting patterns and may hold added appeal to some young builders.  A 54 piece set is $17 and can be used for adding accents or on its own. We like the basic blocks in natural color for starters.  The packages say 3 & up, we think older builders of 5 & up will find them more interesting.  The activities suggested will challenge even older kids.  Our recommendation--put them on the coffee table and see what everyone, young and old, comes up with.  We found them addictive.
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
 

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

  
1995 Awards
Lego Duplo
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score: )

You can't go wrong with chunky plastic Lego Duplo building blocks to fill and dump, snap together, and take apart are basic gear for older toddlers and preschoolers. Small sets are good for add-ons, but be sure to start with a large enough set. 1 & up. There are also themed licensed sets that can be fun additions-but are not as open ended as a basic bucket.

SNAP INFO: Open ended Duplo blocks are ideal for stacking and building, but they are also fun for classifying games. ACTIVITY: Play a sorting game by putting all the red pieces together, then the yellow pieces and so on. These are ideal for developing fine motor skills as well as language, counting and color concepts.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 


2009 Award
Kids Preferred Nutbrown Hare or Peter Rabbit Hand Puppet
(Kids Preferred $15 Score: )

Choose either Nutbrown Hare Hand Puppet, the rabbit from Guess How Much I Love You or the ever popular Peter Rabbit hand puppet with velour blue jacket that has stitched gold buttons and safe stitched features. In silky plush, these are soft enough to be a huggable with the added value of being a hand puppet. Older sibs and parents can use these charming puppets for peek-a-boo games with baby or telling a story. From tracking to story telling, these make a great prop for interacting with babies and toddlers. They are ideal for language development and pretend play.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 
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