Cheap Toys Can Do a Kid Good

Have you shopped for toys lately?

"For toddlers now, toys are running $70 to $80, which is outrageous," said Julie May, a child life specialist at Our Children's House Baylor.

"I am a mom on a budget.  We don't have a lot of money to spend on toys, " said Jenny Martin, who is the mother of 2-1/2-year-old Hudson and 5-month-old Annalise.

Many new toys claim to boost kids' brainpower, and they often come with hefty pricetags. But May said parents don't need to buy expensive toys to help their children reach full potential.  

For instance, a book "can be chewed on," May said.

"It can be read," she said. "It promotes early language and early communication." 

She also said likes dominoes.

"You can line them up and knock them down," May said. "You can stack them up like a tower."

And Hudson's favorite toy, Tupperware containers and lids, also gets a big thumbs-up.

"Those are great toys, because there's no limit to what the toy can do," May said.

Martin said she was relieved.

"Mommy guilt plays into it a lot.  A lot of retailers know that," she said.

May tells mothers such as Martin to let it go.

There's a good reason kids always end up playing with the cardboard box on Christmas morning, she said. It's one of the best toys of all time -- and it's free.

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