Playing with toys is obviously a lot of fun for children but they are also surprisingly educational. If you give your child age appropriate toys then you are giving their learning and development a boost. Here are a few examples of how toys benefit your Child’s Development:
Through play, children learn about the world and engage in activities that encourage:
▪ Cognitive Development
▪ Emotional Development
▪ Social Development
▪ New skills
▪ Internalising new ideas
▪ Motor skills
Any time your child picks something up, twists, opens, clips etc… they are developing their fine motor skills which is vital as they go on to hold a pencil and begin to write.
Some toys are great for your child’s gross motor skills such as ride on toys, skipping and playing bat and ball. These games involve physical activity and larger body movements, therefore the more they do, the more their coordination will improve.
Lots of toys have numbers in them. Although your child will not be aware of it, this is a great introduction to counting. While playing with the toy, they will begin to pick up on simple maths concepts and new number skills which will again help when they are introduced to maths at school. Blocks are primarily related to mathematical skills. Different shaped blocks introduce your child to geometrical concepts like circles, squares, triangles etc..
Of all the toys I have bought for my children, simple wooden blocks were and always will be their favourite. Wooden blocks can be used for counting and stacking or they can be used to make a fort or a princess castle! They have the ability to be anything!
Playing a toy instrument improves motor skills, coordination and introduces the child to different sounds and rhythm. Young children can start with wooden interments such as drums and a xylophone and gradually move onto the piano and recorder. When a child plays (or shall we say BANGS!) an instrument, they learn that they can create a sound. Through this play, they learn the concept of cause and effect. It can be loud and irritating for parents to hear a lot of banging and squeaking but it is a great foundation for your child’s interest in music.
Stuffed animals, teddy bears and dolls are great for expanding your child’s imagination. Your child can have pretend play sessions where they can make up their own stories and choose characters. If your child is playing with other children, it is a good lesson for them to learn to share, listen to other peoples ideas, compromise and cooperate.
Children have a phenomenal capacity to learn during their early years and as parents we must nurture this. A child’s cognitive development grows at a rapid pace and all the time they are developing their thinking skills to process information on how the world works. Therefore let your child explore (under supervision). A lot of us think that expensive, store bought toys are the best, but don’t be blind sighted. A few pots and pans to bang around on are just as good as anything from the store! A child can play with anything in the home as long as it is age appropriate.