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Doctors Tout Blocks and Boxes over High-Tech Toys

Created: December 03, 2018 12:10 PM

Skip the costly electronic games and flashy digital gizmos. Pediatricians say the best toys for tots are old-fashioned hands-on playthings that young children can enjoy with parents - things like blocks, puzzles - even throwaway cardboard boxes - that spark imagination and creativity.

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"There's a lot of messaging out there about, you know, that parents need to have this toy or that toy and that the best toys are the ones that are electronic with bells and whistles and computer chips, you know, really sophisticated. And it turns out that that's just not true. It turns out that the best toys are often the simplest toys," said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, co-author of a new report on selecting toys for young children, up to around age 5.

Simpler hands-on toys that parents and young children can play with together are preferable for healthy development, said Mendelsohn, a pediatrician at NYU Langone Health in New York.

The report published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics cites studies suggesting that heavy use of electronic media may interfere with children's speech and language development, replace important playtime with parents and lead to obesity.

Studies also have found that more than 90 percent of U.S. kids have used mobile devices and most started using them before age 1.

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