“Smart” toys like Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby may turn babies into passive observers, says a NY Times story.
While researchers have found that some babies who are deprived of certain stimuli during the first years of life never completely recover, they have yet to demonstrate that increasing stimulation makes babies smarter. And some experts believe that the toys may even be detrimental to development because they lead children to focus on memorization rather than imagination and problem-solving abilities.
“Some of these toys are very entertaining and they make the child a passive observer,” said Dr. Kathleen Kiely Gouley, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University Child Study Center. “You want the child to engage with the world. If the toy does everything, if it sings and beeps and shows pictures, what does the child have to do?”
The best toys require the most from the child.