The solution to this problem is not more traditional boys toys and girls toys, but fewer toys altogether. In fact, the solution lies with smart toys for preschool boys and girls, in particular one interactive plush toy named Octobo. After reviewing this smart toy, I’m confident you’ll also see it as the solution to all your early education and care concerns.
But before I get into an analysis of octopus toys like Octobo, I first want to explore the conundrum I raised above.
Why exactly do we hate buying traditional children’s toys? Well, we don’t hate them in particular: we simply have a strong dislike for the endless cycle of buying, boredom, and abandoning that always comes with traditional boys toys and girls toys.
First you pick out a toy that (you hope) will catch your child’s attention; then your kid plays with the toy for a short amount of time, perhaps a few weeks or even a few days; and then your young one leaves the toy buried among dozens of others, quickly forgotten. Rinse and repeat.Your experiences aren’t just anecdotes—they’re backed up by the data. We literally are burying ourselves, our children, and our houses in toys, and burning up the bank account to boot. According to a2016 study by the Toy Industry Association, the average home has 71 boys toys or girls toys or some combination thereof, with a fifth of homes having over 100 and a tenth over 200. Moreover, the average parent will spend $6,500 on toys for their children.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering—Why on earth am I buying that many toys?! Is that endless cycle of buying really necessary for my child’s early education and care? We all want to make sure our kids have everything they need to develop properly, and we also like to give them toys as tokens of our affection, especially during birthdays and holidays, so long as we don’t perceive that we’re spoiling them.
But as it turns out, it isn’t, an avalanche of boys toys and girls toys simply aren’t necessary for a child’s development. In fact, they might actually be harmful to it.
That’s whatone study published in the journalInfant Behavior and Development suggests. According to the study, conducted at the University of Toledo in Ohio: when 36 toddlers (under 3 years of age) where left to play with either 4 or 16 toys for half an hour without instructions, the group with fewer toys played with each of the toys twice as longer. This stood in stark contrast to the group with more toys, which played with each toy for a less amount of time. In other words, it’s well within toddlers’ capabilities to use their imagination to compensate for fewer boys toys and girls toys. More toys simply aren’t necessary to stave off boredom.What’s more, having too many toys isn’t just a harmless excess with regard to early education and care. The researchers from the study warned that it could stunt toddlers’ development. “During toddlerhood, children develop, but may not have mastered, higher level control over attention,” the researcherswrote. “Their attention, and therefore, their play may be disrupted by factors in their environments that present distraction. The results of the present study suggest that an abundance of girls toys and boys toys may create such a distraction.
In other words, having too many toys could present too many distractions to your toddler, hampering the development of that all-important ability to concentrate. Too many toys could also reduce your child’s creativity: the researchers noted that the kids with fewer toys spent more time playing with each toy because they invented more ways to use them.
By now it’s pretty clear—as parents, with regard to money we spend too much on traditional boys and girls toys, and with regard to early education and care, we give our kids too many toys. But we have a tall order to fill: How do we save money and cut down on the number of toys we give our kids, while still ensuring their adequate mental, emotional, and physical development through the years?
The answer: Octobo, a smart toy for preschool boys and preschool girls designed by the thoughtful parents at Thinker Tinker. This one-of-a-kind octopus toy really is your best bet in meeting your standards of early education and care without breaking the bank.
Because Octobo has an ever-expanding digital library, you’ll never have to buy another smart plush toy like it again. Imaginary friends fade with time, and traditional children’s toys quickly lose their appeal outside of certain age brackets. But not Octobo—this smart toy for preschool girls and boys is a long-term investment for you and a long-term friend for your toddlers.
Let me explain just how Octobo cuts down on the amount of toys you’ll have to buy your toddler, and how it caters to their mental, physical, and emotional needs through multiple stages of development.
First off, it’s important to note that what makes Octobo a “smart toy” isn’t just the fact that it has sensors located throughout its plush body (which are sensitive enough to distinguish between a poke in the eye or a hug)—Octobo is meant to be hooked up to any 7 by 8 inch tablet, whether it be an Apple, Amazon, or Android.
As we all know, one of the biggest selling points for tablets is the fact that we can download or uninstall apps as they meet or fail to meet our wants—we’re not tired down to this or that game or function. The same principle applies to Octobo: you don’t have to purchase another smart toy with a different set of games, because as the makers of this particular smart toy continue to expand the number of apps available, they expand the number of games it can play with your kid.It’s also important to talk about the kind of games Octobo can play, not just the fact that it has an ever-expanding library of them. Why? Because as your child grows, he or she will want to play different games based on his or her changing developmental needs. This smart toy’s multi-age group serviceability is key to its success in the area of early education and care.
Deborah MacNamara, a clinical counsellor in Vancouver and author ofRest, Play, Grow, a manual for parents,notes that as children grow, their relationships with toys change. So while babies tend to be attached to people and exploring various objects with their hands and mouths, toddlers prefer to explore objects and use their imagination. This means that more open-ended objects—or even toys—are preferable at this stage of development.
MacNamara also says that near the age of 5, toddlers begin showing a preference for certain types of play or expression—building towers and train tracks and taking toys on adventures or serving food. Open-ended toys which facilitate this trend of development will do your child well.
Taken together, MacNamara’s assertions mean that from the point of view of early education and care, a smart toy for a 1-year-old may not be as fitting for a smart toy for a 5-year-old, or any other such disparate combination. Octobo, because it was designed with 0- to 7-year-olds in mind, is an open-ended toy that fulfills the needs of children at both of these developmental stages. In other words, Octobo is as good a smart toy for a 2-year-old as it is a smart toy for a 4-year-old, or anything above and between in the period known as toddlerhood.
Consider Octobo’s interactive storykits, such as its Underwater Adventure Storykit. Instead of relying on the tried-and-true “pass/fail” construction of most games toys will play with your children, Octobo’s storykit mixes reading with interactive tokens and empathetic, lifelike feedback to engage multiple capacities of your toddler in the same game. And don’t forget: the advanced pack offer for this smart toy includes a Great Letter Search Storykit, an ABC learning game that transforms education into just as much as an adventure as any other storybook (it features 80 custom animations and 26 interactive tokens).
Playing with Octobo, your child will learn about colors, shapes, and patterns. He or she will also learn how to focus on and understand the story at hand and tune his or her fine motor control by manipulating small objects. This means Octobo is a perfect smart toy for preschool boys and girls , and manages to avoid that pesky pitfall of toys leading to distraction rather than focus.
And most of all, your child’s imagination will be engaged by Octobo’s adventure story, while Octobo’s lifelike reactions and positive reinforcement will teach your child how to play with others. For instance, this smart toy will tell its playmates that it’s “tired” and will play later on. This means your young one will develop maturity and learn the value of delayed gratification and consideration for others. This is especially important for children between 5 to 7 years old, who focus on learning language and learning through play at this stage of development.
While storykits and games are designed primarily for toddlers to focus on learning shapes, colors and patterns, soon-to-be-announced advanced expansion packs for Octobo will help older children develop literacy, numeracy, and memory skills through such behavioral games as teeth-brushing or toy-organizing.
Taking all the detriments of buying traditional toys—how expensive they are and the damage they pose to your child’s attentional and creative development—and the benefits of smart toys like Octobo—their relative inexpensiveness and ability to grow with you child—I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t grab yours today.
At only $129.00 for a starter pack and $159.00 for an advanced pack, Octobo is probably one of the few smart toys you’ll ever have to buy your kid for the first years of their life. With their ability to combine psychological benefit with financial responsibility, smart toys seem to me to be the toys of the feature.