The holidays mean shopping for mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Experts say when crossing things off your kids' lists, try to find toys that foster learning. But how can you find a toy that’s both educational and fun? A study at a local college may help find that perfect gift.
Now in its ninth year, the TIMPANI study stands for Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination. Researchers at Eastern Connecticut State University spent hours observing pre-school aged children playing with eight different educational toys. This year they found “Magz Clix” stackable bottles scored highest on things like thinking, cooperation, creativity, and interaction.
“The reason why it did so well is because it’s very open-ended,” said Julia DeLapp, director of the Center for Early Childhood Education at ECSU.
Magz Clix is a magnetic building set with pieces in different colors that children can stack together to create towers. The study found the more basic the toy, the more complex the play.
“A lot of adults were always looking for the latest toys with all the bells and whistles, and those don’t tend to do as well because children only do one or two things with them and then grow bored with them,” DeLapp said.