What are “smart” toys?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,213
    Parenting educator Dr. Rene Hackney talks about smart toys.

    Rene Hackney

    Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.

    For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide

    range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.

    Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.

    Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.

    Host: What are smart toys?

    Rene Hackney: Smart toys are things that challenge children, things that get children thinking. A lot of the board games that come out these days are really smart toys. There is games like Cariboo where the child is having to match colors and numbers and shapes and as they match they are earning balls to open a treasure box. That has been such a popular game in our house because it really keeps their interest. It keeps them going, it seems being a very smart toy. Smart toys get kids actively thinking, thinking through as they play maybe thinking strategy, maybe planning as they go. So, you get kids who benefit in the long run from been able to think that way.