Excerpt from Raising a Creative Kid.
Selecting Toys Perfect for Open-Ended Play
Toys, toys, toys. Toy selection can be really overwhelming. There are so many toys to choose from: toys that flash, blink or talk; toys with buttons or fancy colors; or toys that attract with popular characters. The toy aisle is probably the worst place to select toys for a creative environment, especially if you’re a kid! Advertisers and marketers know what they are doing. Chances are if you leave the decision-making until you are standing in the toy aisle, you will walk right past the toys that could be game-changers for your creative space: the toys that empower your kids to make decisions, encourage them to try out new ideas, and inspire creativity are likely not eye catching.
So, how do you make sure that you are bringing in toys that will give your kids a creative advantage? It’s really not that hard, if you know what you are looking for. Open-ended toys are the very best for supporting creative play. Open-ended toys are toys that can be used in many different ways, and allow kids to manipulate them to fit into their own creative vision. Have you ever heard someone say, “She took the $100 toy out of the box, said ‘Thanks’, then played with the box for hours”? That sums it up perfectly. The box was more exciting because it could become anything she wanted. The box is as open-ended as it gets.
Luckily, some toy manufactures really see the importance of this open-ended play, so finding open-ended toys is easy once you are in the right frame of mind.