FREE shipping on orders over $89

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Buying Toys for Kids: Are Simple Toys Always Better?

8 minute read

Buying Toys for Kids Are Simple Toys Always Better Article Banner

If you’ve been around kids for a long time, you’d know how perplexing it is to see them fixate on a shiny, sparkly, talking robotic toy for several days, then just stop playing with them altogether.

It’s frustrating, and one might say, an age-old enigma for parents. 

Although some may interpret this scenario as an urgent call for more complicated toys packed with even more flashy features — it’s not. As a group of pediatrics noted on simple toys:

“Flashy electronic toys may catch our attention as adults, but more basic toys like blocks, books, dolls, and puzzles are recommended because they help spark a child’s imagination and, most importantly, encourage quality playtime between parent and child.”

The truth is, there’s no need to complicate your toy shopping checklist. Research suggests that simple toys are better than fancy electronic ones because of reasons we’ll share with you below.


Why are simple toys better?


1. Simple toys give kids full autonomy

Toddler independently playing with wooden blocks

Nothing feels better than being in control. And no matter the age of a person, this statement proves true. 

Children love to control their playtime—them being the playmaker that dictates how the flow of activities goes, rather than following orders from a toy. 

Many modern toys direct children’s play by asking them to press a button or pull a lever, when in fact, kids prefer to figure things out independently. 

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek recommends buying toys that are 90% child and 10% toys only, as are evident with open-ended toys. That means the child reclaims the command of the toy and not the other way around. The professor of psychology also added that toys are mere platforms or tools to facilitate open-ended play.

Related: What are Open-ended Toys and Why are They Important?


2. Simple toys facilitate learning through play

Mother and child playing with ring stackers

Children are naturally inclined towards creativity, exploration, and adventure, with an insatiable hunger to understand the world around them. And simple toys coincide with these natural inclinations. 

Children absorb every information they encounter like a sponge when they are still young. And unlike adults, kids are incapable of discriminating helpful information from those that are not. So it's critical to expose children to toys that promote essential cognitive skills like cause-and-effect, spatial reasoning, and fine & gross motor skills.

You can use toys to your child’s advantage when you buy basic, developmentally challenging, and age-appropriate simple toys. 


3. Simple toys encourage kids to use their imagination

Girls playing with wooden animal figurines

The overarching principle is that kids are natural problem-solvers, artists, and discoverers. Therefore, when a toy asks children to do one thing or a sequence of actions, it limits kids from genuinely expressing their creativity. 

In one of Romper’s exposition of simple toys, Dr Sharon Saline, a clinical psychologist, said:

“While electronic toys can be compelling and educational with their lights, sounds, letters, numbers, and moving images, they don't foster two important aspects of play for young children: imagination and connection." 

Kids learn to push the limits of their imagination with simple toys. And as a result, these bursts of imaginative display hone their propensity for creative ideas. But, on the contrary, toys that do all the work means less doing for the child, both physically and mentally.


4. Simple toys are far more affordable

Woman trying to decide whether to buy the STEMscopeLet’s get one thing straight. Toy companies care for profitability. Although they create a facade of a caring figure for a child’s future, money will always come first. That’s why countless sophisticated toys are sold on the market nowadays. 

Toy companies create add-ons or promote expansion packs, all in an attempt to sell parents the idea that depriving kids of these peripheral features will make them unhappy. 

On the other hand, simple toys are standalone and basic. They’re mere tools for children to create their own kind of fun with only the imagination at their disposal driving the playtime. And this aspect makes them cheaper, and the far better option.

Don’t get me wrong. Having extra features is not bad. But making those extras the basis of the toy’s cognitive viability is a rip-off.


5. Simple toys can foster family time better

Family playing with simple toys together

Parents play a vital role in supporting a child’s early development. This responsibility is not limited to buying the best toy for their developmental success. It also includes finding the best toys and activities to forge stronger family connections.

A research paper on the relationship of toys to parent-infant communication showed that electronic toys do not promote language development in kids as much as books and simple toys like cubes, wooden puzzles, and shape sorters do. One angle behind this result is that electronic toys fail to foster personal relationships than traditional toys.

Ergo, a child preoccupied with the shimmering lights of a robot toy won’t have as much fun as a child engaging in open-ended play with mom and dad. Simple toys are more playtime flexible so everyone can join in and play along. Conversely, electronic toys typically capture only the attention of the child.


6. Simple toys limits unwanted screen time

Child choosing to play with toys than with laptop

Gadgets and screens have a bad rep among parents and experts. And I can’t see a reason why not? Aside from detracting kids from activities that boost their brain function, screens can also have other adverse effects

First, exposure to screens can result in digital eye strain that manifests in various ways, including headaches, burning and tired eyes, and blurry vision. This is especially apparent with younger kids with underdeveloped eyesight. 

Secondly, screens may curtail their ability to control impulses. Unfortunately, screen time has become a band-aid solution to keep kids from whining when they’re bored. But a little boredom is normal for kids, and screens impede their frustration-coping mechanism. 

Lastly, screen time can reduce a child's empathy by limiting their exposure to social interactions and inhibiting their ability to read faces. Both of which are important in developing empathetic behaviors in kids.

Unfortunately, in PCMg’s Parent survey on how old children should own a device, 14% believed a tablet is appropriate for 3-5-year-olds. Although screen time is permitted for kids aged 2 and up, if it can’t be helped, make sure to keep them under their recommended screen time.


The above list features the reasons why simple toys are better for kids. But what are the best simple toys you could get your child? Check the list below!


Best Simple Toys for Kids

Children playing witb simple toys

Building toys

These are essential in fostering a child’s creativity and strengthening their dexterity. Some toys under this category include wooden blocks, planks, and rainbow stackers.


Construction kits

Although they tread the same path as building toys, construction kits are more advanced and complicated - fit for older children. These include LEGOs and magnetic tiles.


Active toys 

Honing kids’ cognition and creativity are not the only ones parents should focus on. Active toys promote physical activity and movement, developing their gross motor skills and burning energy. Some examples include balls, trampoline, jump rope, and hula-hoop.


Exploration toys

We’ve established that children are natural-born explorers, so it’s natural to provide them with the tools they need to explore and discover. Some exploration toys include portable kids’ microscopes, magnifying glasses, and binoculars.

Related: 10 Best Toys for Outdoorsy Children


Pretend play

Role-playing or experimenting with various persona can be healthy in stimulating a child’s imagination. It allows them to walk in other people’s shoes, which hones their empathy. Some pretend toys include costumes, dolls, kitchen sets, and action figures.


So… Is Basic Always Better?


Yes. Basic toys are good for children because they expose children to learning opportunities deemed essential for their cognitive development, foster kids’ imagination and creativity, and promote social interaction and family bonding, all while keeping kids off screens.

If you’re looking for a simple toy that can ignite the inner adventurer of your child, the STEMscope kids’ microscope is an excellent place to start. Feel free to visit our product page and our complete science gadget collection to learn more about it!

« Back to Blog