DEVELOPING WITH AGE APPROPRIATE TOYS IN THE FISHER-PRICE PLAY LAB AND PLAY IQ
Fisher-Price certainly have lots of experience in their design of Children’s Toys and, for many years been marketing fun, educational and long lasting toys but, most recently, the Play IQ (Play Lab) at Fisher-Price was born.
The Play IQ concept is a form of assessment to aid parents in determining their child’s level of development in three key areas – Physical, Cognitive and Social & Emotional. As the simple notion of play enables a child to learn about the world around them and develop a wide range of important skills essential for growth, the team saw that when infants are playing, they are developing their Play IQ.
We talked to Deborah Webber about her job as Senior Manager of Child Research at Fisher-Price.
This role sees Deborah working in the Play Lab where she is responsible for product development research in newborn and infant toys. Deborah gets to spend her days observing children at play and is an expert on infant-development, in her job she can determine size, scale, ergonomics, interest and appropriateness before Fisher-Price makes and introduces new toys to their range.
What motivated her to become an infant-development expert?
Her fascination at just how quickly an infant develops in his first year of life and her appreciation of the importance of play lead her to her chosen career. She firmly believes that wholesome child development is so dependent on play.
When observing children interacting with products, what does she look out for specifically?
Some traits and habits she follows when evaluating a toy is the interest a child shows in it as well as how much fun the child appears to be having with the said toy. From here we consider what we could use to improve or add to the fun and enjoyment.
Fisher-Price brings Play IQ alive through a unique and innovative website. Here, parents can gain knowledge of their baby’s milestones as well as help them achieve new milestones by offering the appropriate toys. Play IQ highlights the importance of giving children the right toys at the right developmental stage to develop their full potential. Parents can also learn about their child’s persona (e.g. Born Leader, Natural Charmer or Small World Explorer).
Some tips on choosing the correct toys for your infant’s development stage:-
- Newborns – 9 months : this youngest age group needs toys that engage the senses such as a playpen mobiles, rattles or teether toys.
- 9 months – 18 months : you should give toys that ‘imitate’ real life, such as plastic tools or an animal farm.
- 18 months – 36 months : problem solving toys are ideal for this age group, try balls, push and pull toys or things that fit together. Toys which can help them use their imagination like animal figures or dolls are great her too.
Fisher-Price’s Play IQ website can be found at www.fisher-price.com/PlayIQ