A household full of kids will surely have boxes full of toys all over the house. Schools, childcare centres, and even children’s nooks in malls and hotels – all these are also packed with toys. Even families on the go bring their kids’ favourite toy to keep them occupied and entertained. But toys are much more than just a form of entertainment. These are in fact a tool that aids in a child’s learning and development. They develop skills in babies, toddlers, pre-school and school-aged children and they help in different areas of development.
Here are the different skills developed through play and how toys help cultivate the development of these skills:
Kids’ educational toys like puzzles, blocks and role-play games help develop their reasoning and problem solving skills. As they try to piece together the puzzles or stack the blocks they use their logical thinking and improve their thought process. Role-playing games on the other hand will allow them to take on a different role and view a different perspective. Giving a child a toy guitar for example will allow him to take on the role as a guitar player and take on a new perspective that comes with that identity. All these contribute in the development of a child’s cognitive skills.
Creativity and Intellectual Development
Give a child an empty box and he’ll have the time of his life pretending it’s a castle, a ship or a cage at the zoo. A child is innately imaginative and creative and can think of many ways to play with a single toy. Being a parent and guardian though it will be more helpful if you provide them with the tools necessary to improve this creativity. A paper, a box of crayons, a painting kit and a crafts set full of nifty things to do – these will develop their creativity and imagination.
Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination
As kids learn how to hold a puzzle piece, a block, a toy broom and a toy shovel they’ll develop their motor skills. Playing with a bike and wagon will also help with their muscle development. Turning the bike and wagon to the right direction will exercise their muscle control and pedalling the bike to move will also contribute to their kinetic skills. Even playing with puzzles and other kids’ educational games will help them develop their hand-eye coordination.
Musical instruments like a guitar and xylophone will help with a child’s sensory development. They will strum the strings on the guitar and tap the xylophone and hear the music that comes from it. A clay set and water toys can also become kids’ educational toys as they help develop the child’s sense of touch and sight.
Toys when played with other kids and grown-ups can help children foster their social skills and help improve their social development. A memory game, blocks, books, and role-play games can help with this. Even toys like dolls and trucks can also aid in a child’s social development. Through these children will learn how to socialise with other kids and learn how to share and cooperate with others. By playing with other kids they’ll discover also how others react to something they do. They’ll know that taking a toy from someone for example will elicit a negative reaction while sharing will give them a pleasant playing experience.
David Elkind, a child psychologist and author, has stated that “Play is not only our creative drive; it’s a fundamental mode of learning.” Children learn through play and toys are a great tool for playing and learning. Whether a puzzle that they can play with indoors, a bike that they can use outdoors, or a simple baby gift like a rattle that you can bring anywhere – these bring so much more than just entertainment. Having children surrounded by educational toys will help them develop into creative, intellectual, and sociable individuals.