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11/03/13

Toy Story: Moms and dads still value the traditional educational toy

In a world built for and around technology, educational products still stand strong.
The holiday season isn't too far away, and visions of veracity within the shopping aisles and lingering thoughts over the best toy to buy beckons our inner shopping selves.
The temptation to succumb to technology isn't exactly a new direction but rather has become commonplace when buying gifts for adults, in addition to kids. Board games have transformed into bored games, and kids clamor for smart phones, tablets and anything computer oriented to log plenty of after school and recreational hours. The thought of playing the nostalgic Candy Land pales in comparison to Candy Crush.
That begs the question: Does anyone still buy educational toys in the simplest, purest sense?
Technology savvy consumers would argue that phones and tablets promote education but that defense is predicated on kids actually downloading "apps" that reek of thought provoking prowess as opposed to various versions of Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja.

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Those mindless, addicting and enjoyable games aside, the technology infused society is a split decision: some use it for research, work practice or education; the rest fall into the Temple Run crowd.
Where do kids fit into this? Much to the surprise of anyone keeping score, parents still value the educational facet of toys versus the art of swiping a touch screen or downloading in place of old fashioned focus from a book or toy.
The cheers from the offices of Mattel or Fisher Price should be deafening, albeit justified. Toy manufacturers have managed to muscle into at least a neck and neck tie with technology when it comes to buying decisions. Most parents polled in recent years still say if they're busy around the house cleaning or cooking, they'd be more apt to hand kids a toy, rather than a tablet.
And the same could be said for interactive reading material such as educational CDs, books and magazines for young adults or toys for babies and kids that promote functionality, creativity and learning.
Parents who can't put down a phone, tablet or watch too much TV also tend to indirectly push kids to follow in those flawed footsteps. Even something as simple as turning off a TV that is playing for no reason could serve as motivation for your son or daughter to put little emphasis on technology.
That's not to suggest technology doesn't have a place under the tree this holiday season but perhaps that spot isn't as prominent as you might expect.

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