Toy Comparison: Traditional vs. Electronic, Blocks or Ipad?

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Traditional Toys Vs. Electronic Toys

Toys come in all shapes and sizes and can be found everywhere.

Some toys are miniature versions of life-sized items like a play kitchen or lawn mower. Other toys are condensed into a small hand-held device that has all kinds of lights, sounds, and interactive features.

Is one type of toy better than the other?

Let’s dig a little deeper and do a toy comparison: traditional vs. electronic.



Traditional Toys

What are traditional toys?

These are the toys that have been around for awhile and are usable just as they come, meaning they don’t require a charge, internet connection, or batteries.

They include things you likely remember from your own childhood; dolls, blocks, trains, puzzles, etc.

Children all over the world have played with a large variety of toys for many, many years.

Countless hours have been spent playing with these kinds of toys. I believe they are an important part of childhood as children are able to really use their imaginations.

As a child I spent hours playing with my dolls and barbies. We had “tea” parties, played Dolls

school (I wanted to become a teacher from a young age!) and had other exciting adventures. These are cherished memories I will always have!

I don’t know that you could measure the benefits I received through this type of play.

As time has gone on the toy options have only grown larger. Nowadays you can walk into a store and find aisles and aisles of toys. It can be a little overwhelming! But oh the fun that awaits the children. 😉


Electronic Toys

We have to admit that screens appeal to each of us on some level.

Young babies are drawn to a screen because of the lights and movement. While they don’tgame boy

yet understand what they are seeing and hearing, the parts they do see and hear fascinate them.

Those people who aren’t particularly into TV shows, movies, sports, etc their eyes are still drawn to a screen that is on.

Have you ever walked into a restaurant that has a game playing or movie running?

It’s hard to stay focused on someone or something else because your senses direct you to the screen.

As adults we work with screens every day. We use our cell phones and computers to communicate, search, connect, and navigate among other things. Screens hold a prominent position in our society today!

So what does this have to do with electronic toys?

Whether we like it our not our children will be exposed to screens early on in life.

How can we set them up for success with these tools and not turn into future couch potatoes?

By providing boundaries, education, and direction.

There are fun and educational tools out there that come in the form of electronics. Used correctly, some of these electronic toys can stimulate thinking and encourage creativity as the children digitally maneuver and create.

In the classroom, electronic games and activities were best used in conjunction with interacting and learning with the teacher and classmates.

At home these interactions include parents, siblings, and potentially extended family members.

happy family

The games will be less effective if these electronic toys are only used in isolation.

Be Aware: Many toys are labeled “educational” when in reality they really aren’t. If it seems too good to be true– ‘this product will teach your child to read in 10 days!’- it probably is!

Like many things in life, things are not always as they appear. Choose wisely and be actively involved in the things your kids are doing. (Those being your own kids or others you have the opportunity to be around.)


Getting Down To The Nitty Gritty

Is there a downside?

I don’t feel there are many cons to traditional toys.

They have proven themselves over the past generations. They have helped numerous children grow throughout their childhood. Most don’t come with specific directions, so they allow the child to use the toy however they feel.

Electronic Toys Cons

While electronic toys and screens capture the attention of millions every day we do need to be careful.

1. Childhood obesity is a bigger problem now than it has been in the past. Why?

I’m sure there are multiple factors that play into it, but one major contributing factor is the lack of physical exercise.

Think back a few generations… they didn’t have all of these electronic devices that kept them indoors and sitting down.

Children these days have so many options available to them. They don’t just have a bike or a book to choose from. They could play an electronic game, virtual bowling, or a myriad of other things that capture their attention.


2. Fewer Personal Interactions

There is typically less conversation and social interaction happening when a child is using an electronic toy.

They tend to be completely consumed in the screen or toy and usually don’t pause to interact with anyone around them.

Over time this can pose a problem if a child is exposed to more electronic toys than traditional toys.

child playing on an Ipad

If they are using only electronic toys, their language and social skills commonly suffer because they aren’t actively practicing and refining these skills.

As a teacher, it seemed that as time went on there were more and more kids having attention difficulties in the classroom.

It started to feel like I was a one woman parade every day, trying my best to be “entertaining” and keep their attention.

I attribute a lot of the inattentiveness to the amount of screen time many of the kids were being exposed to everyday. It is hard to compete with an electronic device!

3. Lack of Stimulation

Many electronic toys and games have ways for the kids to level up. video game controller

This is fine if the kids are continually using their brains to solve the presented problems or complete the required task to move up to the next level.

The trap we have to be aware of is that kids can get to a point that they have figured out how it works and it no longer requires any thought or processing. They memorize what needs to happen and it just becomes a mindless game.

It’s not all bad! Specific electronic toys used in limited amounts of time can provide valuable learning opportunities.

two boys laughing

Final Thoughts woman with thought bubbles

There are definitely benefits to both traditional and electronic toys.

Both can provide positive avenues of learning.

If we do our homework and are aware of the purposes and actual outcomes from these toys our children can get the best of both worlds to help them along their learning path.

New ideas and useful toys are being marketed all the time, why not utilize the resources created!

So in the end is there room for both? Yes!


Take a look at this website that takes puzzles to a whole new level!

Click Here to read how Educational Toys Make Learning Fun!


What fun toys do you know about? Any you would recommend? Please share your thoughts and comments below!

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6 thoughts on “Toy Comparison: Traditional vs. Electronic, Blocks or Ipad?”

  1. It’s easy to see how screens and electronic toys are so appealing to children. There is nothing so depressingly hypocritical as when you’ve decided not to let your child have screen time and yet you sit there itching to get out your phone yourself! I agree with your sentiments on attention difficulties too. I’ve seen it with my son. When he’s had some screen time, his behaviour afterwards is markedly more agitated than if he’s been playing with cars, or blocks or colouring. I suppose, the reason traditional toys are still around is because they’re so flexible in their play. Add a bit of imagination and they can be used for so much. Electronic toys tend to be more prescriptive – less imagination required and less opportunity to stretch the brain.

    • I agree with the hypocrisy of saying no to kids and screen time then wanting to sneak a look at your own phone, I can definitely be better with my screen time choices! It is a very interesting thing to notice children’s behavior before/after screen time. That is so true, traditional toys do offer a lot of variety of uses because they’re less dictated, as you shared.

  2. Hi Heidi,
    Awesome post! Thank you!
    I have to grandsons, ages 2 & 4, and they’re already great at navigating the iPad. It’s scarey, lol.
    We give them very limited time on iPhones and iPads. Thankfully they enjoy the outdoors and playing with their toys.
    I think a lot of parents give too much screen time because it’s easy and gives them some quite time. I don’t blame them. It’s nice for me too!
    I’ve been introducing games in hopes of teaching them how to sit down and play together. It’s a big lesson in patience… for me!
    Thanks again,

    • It is amazing at how young and how quickly children figure out how to work electronics! They do have their place, but I’m happy to hear your grandsons also enjoy playing outside and with their toys. Screens can be an easy fallback, but hopefully we can help provide parents with other options. You sound like a fun grandma! Keep at it with the games and practicing sitting and playing together. Your lessons in patience will pay off;)

  3. Great post. I too feel electronic games can pull kids in all too easy and can create a screen addiction. Which adds to behavial problems. Screen time must be limited.


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