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        Active Play

        Growing children seem to have an almost endless capacity for active play, and, of course, this physical activity is important in the development of co-ordination and the growth of large muscles. Choose active play toys with the child's age, size and abilities in mind, and look for products that are rustproof, smoothly finished, sturdy, and well-balanced. Not only will such toys promote physical growth, but they'll also encourage social interaction and imaginative play.

        For toys that are especially effective in sparking all three areas of development, you might want to look at the growing number of plastic play equipment sets marketed by toy manufacturers. These brightly coloured units are tough enough to withstand every bit of the active and imaginative play they invite, from one child alone or a group of kids together.

        Other toys encourage active indoor play for older children. A ping-pong set, yo-yos, and foam balls for basketball, golf, or just throw-and-catch can provide great fun for most children and can be used without undue threat to furniture and furnishings as long as some simple rules for appropriate behaviour are followed. And, once spring rolls around again, remember to reintroduce those traditional items that are available year after year such as: skipping ropes, marbles, jacks, and sidewalk chalk for hopscotch.

        A safe, uncluttered environment is important for all active play, whether indoors or out. For little ones, you will want to check the back yard periodically for sharp sticks, larger stones, abandoned gardening tools, and any litter that may have accumulated. Make sure that kites are flown in wide open spaces well away from hydro lines. Knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets are recommended for roller skaters, skate boarders and cyclists.

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