Duke News Tip -- Educational vs. Fun? Questions to Ask When Shopping for Toys

Different toys can teach kids different skills, regardless of whether they are marketed as educational.

Different toys can teach kids different skills, regardless of whether they are marketed as educational. Harris CooperProfessor and chair, Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke Universitycooperh@duke.eduhttp://psychandneuro.duke.edu/people?Gurl=%2Faas%2Fpn&Uil=cooperh&subpag... researches the value of homework, making the most of summer school, the value of after-school programs, and the impact of school calendars and calendar variations on students and their families. Quote:"Different toys can teach kids different skills, from reading and math to hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning. It doesn't make sense to suggest one skill is always better to reinforce during play than another. "The questions to ask are, 'What does my child enjoy doing?' so he or she will actually use the toy, and 'Is there a toy that might help my child strengthen a skill?' especially in an area of weakness, and without realizing he or she is actually learning something."