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Dr. Toy's Smart Play Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High Play Quotient Review by Donna Campos

Stevanne Auerbach, PhD (Dr. Toy)
Educational Insights
18730 S. Wilmington Avenue
Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220

Dr. Toy's Smart Play Smart Toys is a 245-page paperback book for parents and teachers who wish to improve the learning value of their children's play. The book explains the importance of play and gives pointers on selecting safe, high-quality toys. What toys are best for different stages? Which kinds of toys improve observational skills? How can a parent introduce a toy in a way that will capture and retain the child's interest? The author walks the reader through the various ages and stages while offering toy suggestions, "play points" (pieces of advice from the author), and detailed explanations of toy categories and developmental milestones. Age ranges are from birth to age 12 and include all developmental levels in between.

By reading chapters based on the age of your child, you can research quality toys before entering a toy store to make purchases. The book is also useful as a reminder of what a child should be doing at various age levels. Basic parenting skills are strewn throughout the book in an unobtrusive fashion.

One of the chapters is devoted to children with special needs. The author stresses playing at the child's level, increasing skills slowly as the child learns and keeping in mind that every child has specific limitations. The chapter also offers several resources for special needs toys, lists of toys that are appropriate for various sensory or developmental needs, and phone numbers of various special needs organizations.

The book is well written and organized; a reader is easily able to flip to a specific age group. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about how children learn through play. At the very least, the book is a good reminder that children need to play. Language skills, motor skills, and social skills are all strengthened through quality play environments. Parents are in a unique position to make a difference in this area.

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006