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Working from home with young kids? These 5 toys encourage open-ended play

Hunting for those just-right toys to keep your kiddos busy while you’re on calls? You know the one – fairly-priced, educational, fun, sparks joy, and won’t end up in the corner collecting dust? Yes, these unicorn playthings do actually exist. “Some toys have a powerful influence on children’s thinking, interaction with peers, and creative expression,” notes Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, a professor at the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University. “One trend that is emerging from our studies can serve as a guide to families as they choose toys: Basic is better.” These first-rate toys fit this bill, and are sure to encourage creative, open-ended play and keep small hands engaged while you’re working.

If you’re tired of aimlessly wandering the aisles of Target searching for toys your kids can get some mileage out of, you’re not alone! The search for good quality toys can feel strangely daunting, with the myriad of plastic and light-up options. While fun and novel, they usually don’t stand the test of time. Take the guesswork out of the equation and go for something simple and timeless like these wooden blocks, LEGO building bases, train tracks, or soccer balls. As the Association for Psychological Science notes, “Toys are the most frivolous things in the world and, in some ways, the most essential. Toys can be objects of solitary attention and entertainment or, far more often, centerpieces of social interaction.” You’re sure to make little faces light up with these high-quality, classic toys – and hopefully, get some work done while you’re at it!

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