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Putting creativity in Santa's bag.

If you want to spark a little creativity and imagination in your offspring this holiday season, arrange for Santa Claus to bring them something besides the latest computer game. Instead, try dolls, clay, balls, building blocks, miniature human and animal figures, board games, and art projects, suggests Eric Dlugokinski, a child psychologist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

"People should give children toys they can create and pretend with. Toys that require the child to use imagination encourage a creative outlook and also provide an opportunity to practice social skills they will need as adults."

Moreover, dolls and stuffed animals can be an extra friend to youngsters if they are feeling lonely. In some cases, a child can work through situations that bother him or her--such as a divorce, a conflict, or a friend moving away--by playing them out with dolls.

Probably the worst Christmas gift for a youngster, Dlugokinski maintains, is his or her own television set. "TV tends to create a kind of passivity with the world--especially when it's in the child's own room."

Outdoor toys such as soccer balls and baseball bats are good because they help kids develop a sense of confidence, as well as physical ability. Using these types of presents in team play is beneficial, because most youngsters enjoy team sports, as well as feeling like they are part of a group. Sports and board games teach children rules. Both of these activities help them learn that winning and losing are a part of the game and a part of life,

"Another part of life is not getting everything you want," Dlugokinski points out. "Parents who can't afford or don't wish to buy a particular toy for their child shouldn't feel guilty about it. They should realize that they have a right, and sometimes a responsibility, ability, to say `No.' In fact, adults who feel they should meet every wish their child has should ask themselves, `Do I get everything I want?'"
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:creative toys for children
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Dec 1, 1993
Words:330
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