Show remote interest in stimulating toys

Contributed

IN THE first of a two-part series we look at ideal remote-control toys for toddlers and young children, focusing on the educational and play values.

From just a few weeks of age children are fascinated with things that move, following the actions of parents, siblings, the family pet, even leaves blowing in the wind.

It is an interest that grows as they do and as toddlers they will follow things with glee running, jumping and dancing as they try to imitate people, animals and objects.

Kids love to move things with their hands and feet, relishing the feeling they get of affecting something despite their size.

Age-specific remote-control toys are excellent in aiding with developing motor skills.

Remote-control toys first rose to popularity in Germany in the 1960s and for many decades were confined to cars only. They were also called radio-controlled cars because radio signals are used to control the movement of the toys.

You have the option of wired or wireless.

Remote-control toys generally are battery or electrically powered, with some models for older kids and adults powered by fuel.

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Toddlers

Think simple, colourful and unbreakable. Most littlies don't have the fine motor skills or co-ordination or even the focus to operate complicated dials and buttons.

But simple remote-control toys help with hand-eye coordination and problem-solving while the accompanying lights and sounds can stimulate the senses.

Of course these days remote-control toys are not confined to cars. There is a variety of options including planes, trains, boats and even animals, for girls and boys.

Let your child's interests be your guide to investing in a cheap and cheerful moveable train set (GeoTrax Remote Control Timbertown Railway, from $60) for example if he or she has a love for trains and likes being a conductor or a driver. Add their other little toys to the mix like small animals and buildings to increase interest.

If trains are not their thing how about a remote-control truck (Giggler, $11) or perhaps the Letterland School-Remote Control bus ($34.99) or even a girly offering from My Little Pony ($24.99).

 

Young children

Kids over three have better control over their fingers and greater success at moving something to where they want it to be.

This is an exciting age because not only can remote-control toys help with co-ordination and reflexes but they also can initiate an interest in science and technology.

They can learn how gears work, how the radio frequency is transmitted as well as learning direction and how to perform more complicated manoeuvres.

Remote-control toys that can be used outside (Eztec Radio Control Kawasaki ATV, $39) also help to keep children stimulated and in the fresh air.

Toys for this age group cost anything from $20 to $1000, but remember that these kids are still little and would be better suited for remote-control toys that are manufactured to toy grade not hobby grade.

They need toys that are durable, easy to operate and reasonably inexpensive.

Consider whether it is battery-operated and if not how long it needs to charge for.

Check the joystick is not too stiff for little fingers, the size of the vehicle, that it is easy to maintain and whether there are small parts that may fall off and become a choking hazard.

Like with toddlers the range includes, cars, boats and planes, but you can also add remote-control toys to match your favourite superhero (Superman, Man of Steel interactive and remote control, $79) or movie, as well as off-road (Bad Street Jeep, $98) and military-styled vehicles (Remote Control German Tier 1 and US M4 Sherman tanks, $99).

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