Toys and the play they involve have a major role in the development of any child. Educational toys can have a far greater effect on the development of the child because they have been specially designed to help each age group learn the necessary skills to succeed in life.
Toy stores may be places of fun and wonder for kids but they are actually about much more than this. Many toys that look like being just fun are actually also educational. The fact is that few toys come with no educational purpose. They can help children develop their social, physical, emotional, mental and behavioural skills — just through play.
Toys that have educational benefits
Although all toys have some educational and developmental benefits some are more useful than others. Babies’ toys may all look just like colourful and noisy objects but they can help a baby develop their skills as they grow. Mobiles and soft books, for example, help a baby develop visual awareness. Toys that make a noise help them with their hearing and toys that they can feel help them understand their sense of touch.
When a child becomes a little older and hits the toddler stage their toys become more active. They learn about spatial awareness and fine motor skills through stacking and building. They learn how to control a pen through early drawing and painting and they learn about solving problems with early puzzles. Their physical development at this stage can be helped with ride-on toys and toys that need to be pushed or pulled to be moved.
During the next couple of years children may well start to show more imaginative play ideas. They may like playing shops, organising the home life in their dolls house, running a railway or dressing up as a fireman. They are also more likely to show an interest in books and can start to seriously learn their letters, sounds and numbers.
Just before school many parents find that their child benefits from playing simple games. This doesn’t just help promote learning but also teaches them about winning and losing, about taking turns and about sharing.
Toys children like
No two children will have exactly the same tastes when it comes to the toys they like to play with. Like adults they learn their likes and dislikes at an early age. Babies, for example, may well pick up one rattle and ignore another for no specific reason. For this reason it’s wise to choose educational toys that the children will like — otherwise they simply won’t play with them.
The child’s parents are an invaluable source of information here. They could, for example, tell you that their child will play with anything to do with trains or transport or that they like playing number games.
Toys and the play they involve thus have a significant role in the development of any child. Educational toys can have a far greater effect on the development of the child because they have been specially designed to help each age group learn the necessary skills. Before buying any toy check on its safety and age guidelines. Look for the BSI Kite Mark, the Lion Mark or a CE/EN rating. Finally, make sure that toy matches the age of the child