Wed, 03/14/2012 - 04:26 — amywickstrom
3 Tips for Buying Animal Figurines for Your Child
I was recently shopping for a set of wild animal figurines because I’m putting together 3 suitcases of toys for a play therapy program I’m developing in the Dominican Republic. You might think it’s easy to find good wild animal figurines, but that’s not always the case. There are actually several things to consider, which I thought you might enjoy learning about since parents often find themselves buying this kind of thing for their kids.
What to look for:
1) Do the animals look realistic? The more realistic they look, the better. This means many of the fisher price and other infant/preschool brands usually aren’t a good fit.
2) Is there more than one of each kind of animal? Try to find sets of animals that contain pairs of the same animal, or preferably even families. This allows children to “play out” relationships and interpersonal dynamics they observe between people every day. Children often choose animals to play out what they experience because they feel a safe emotional distance that way. In comparison, doll families sometimes feel a little too close to home and realistic.
3) Can they be purchased as a set? You can often find individual animals for sale, but it’s good if you can buy them as part of a set. When sold as a set, all of the animals look the same and are in proportionate size to each other.
With these factors in mind, I found two sets of animals I would highly recommend. Both can be found at Lakeshore Learning Store, though only one of the sets is listed on their website. They are the Classic Wild Animal Figurines and the Classic Domestic Animal Figurines: http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/seo/ca|searchResults~~p|RR402~~.jsp
I’ve purchased both sets for my clinical office, a counseling program in Uganda, and my own children. They meet all of the criteria I’ve mentioned above, and they offer hours of fun and meaningful play!
Source: Amy Wickstrom, PhD, Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. Sharing the Secrets of Play Therapy with Today’s Parents (www.morethanatoy.com/blog)