Family & Parenting

Pediatricians Confirm: You Should Give Your Kids Low-Tech Toys This Holiday Season

Here are some toys they recommend giving instead.

There’s no question that kids love the latest and greatest tech toys available. However, that may not be what’s best for them. When shopping for holiday gifts this year, pediatricians say that low-tech toys should be at the top of your list. According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, simple toys are best, especially for young children ages 5 and under.

“Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a ‘virtual’ or digital-based platform are more educational,” Aleeya Healey, M.D., a lead author of the report, said in a statement.

Instead, toys should encourage kids to use their imagination and should not be overstimulating. “Research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app,” Healey said. “Simple, in this case, really is better.”

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The organization also recommends that screen time be limited to less than one hour per day for children 2 years or older and avoided completely in children younger than 18-24 months.

“The best toys are those that support parents and children, pretending and interacting together,” Alan Mendelsohn, M.D., co-author of the report and associate professor at NYU Langone Health, said in a statement. “You just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen. And when children play with parents, the real magic happens, whether they are pretending with toy characters or building blocks or puzzles together.”

parents playing with kids photo
Getty Images | Matt Cardy

HealthyChildren.org provides further guidelines for selecting the best toys. Traditional toy categories from which you should choose include symbolic and pretend toys like dolls and action figures, fine-motor adaptive/manipulative toys like blocks and puzzles, art toys like coloring books and clay, language and concept-based toys like card and board games, and motor/physical toys like tricycles and balls.