Toys > Touchscreens

Avoid devices in favor of traditional toys

If you’re scrambling to do some last-minute holiday shopping for your kids and considering a tablet, smartphone or other electronic device, reconsider that gadget and look toward traditional toys. A clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against digital devices as a replacement for hands-on toys and games, which fuel imagination and aid in development. The best toys do not come with an app, says the lead author of the report, but rather are matched to the child’s developmental abilities and teach new skills. In this case, simpler really is better. Toys play an important role in developing brains, language interactions, pretend play, problem-solving, social interactions and physical activity. Staring at a screen negates those benefits and any parental involvement. In fact, many claims of the educational benefits of “interactive” media devices are unsubstantiated, according to the AAP.