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A Product's Play Quotient

Like most parents, you want products that provide the best value for your investment. Toys, games, software and tapes can provide children with diverse play and learning experiences but, you must select items carefully. I use Play Quotient or PQ to rate the value a toy provides. You can evaluate a products PQ by asking the right questions.

Is the product appropriate? You want the right fit for your child. Will the product hold your child's interest? Does the product match the childs age, skills and abilities? Look for age grading on the package. If the age range doesnt match your childs, he will likely be frustrated if he uses it. Is the product well designed? Design is key to quality. Is it appealing? Does the product match the packaging? Children are attracted to a product based on how it plays. Will the product be fun to play with?

Are there any potential hazards? Safety is critically important. Small parts can be choking hazards for any child under three. Products must be unbreakable and non-toxic. Is there a guarantee? Save your receipts. The store where you make purchases should ensure product safety but, ultimately you are responsible for what your child plays with and how she plays with it. Will the product last a long time? Consider a products durability and versatility. Children return frequently to a product that has a high PQ. Blocks and LEGOS are good examples of products that offer versatility, long lasting appeal and fun.

Does the product develop creativity, learning or physical skills? Children need a balance between active, educational and creative products. Find products to enhance each area. The right product, for the right reason, at the right price, will have a high PQ and provide the best value. Write Dr. Toy to share your experiences or questions.

Lets Play!

(c) l995, 1996, 1997 Stevanne Auerbach, PhD San Francisco, CA.
This article may not under any circumstances be resold or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.

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