Photo: Jerry Wang via Unsplash
Toys draw children's attention like bees to honey. Even if there aren't any toys, kids will create their own out of anything they can get their hands on. What does this mean for the development of children, and what role do toys play in that development? Children seem to understand what they want intuitively and are drawn to items that fulfill those needs.
In light of this, what does the science say?
What Makes Good Toys?
It is possible that in ancient times, children were given dulled arrowheads or pieces of clay as toys for play. Researchers think this enabled kids to become more prepared for adult duties, such as hunting with true arrowheads or producing useful pottery. Education in the 21st century progressively prioritizes hands-on exercises like building using children's construction kits or bringing imaginative play with toys into the classroom.
That brings up the question: Should a toy teach children a skill or prepare them for maturity to be deemed high-quality?
Not at all. The ability to engage children in such a manner that they can use it in any way they imagine defines a wonderful toy.
For example, researchers may look at a toy's ability to support children in developing various life skills, such as critical thinking, healthy social interactions, and creativity. Parents also must guarantee the safety of a toy with their child's age and growth. Groups like SafeKids.org are among the organizations that expose toy safety risks and recalls.
How Can Playing With Toys Aid In Child Development?
A child's life is made brighter by the presence of toys. However, these objects are capable of far more. It stimulates children's minds and encourages them to learn new things. It can also help to enhance the child's perception and motor skills. These and more are just some of the things it can perform. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of toys to a child's development.
Toys promote creativity and nurture imagination
Have you ever observed children make up a story and invent scenarios when they play with building blocks, dolls, balls, toy trucks, animal toys, dinosaur plushies, and other similar items? They'd use dolls to tell a tale in which the dolls spoke to one another. They would bring their minds to ancient times with their dinosaur plushies fighting majestically. When children are playing, they are learning.
A kid might also view objects that are not toys as playthings since they are children. For example, they can wear plastic containers as helmets to protect themselves from imaginary foes. Or, in the mind of a youngster, even a common twig might become a powerful sword. As you can see, their urge to play drives their creative and imaginative thinking to new heights.
It refines a child's motor skills
Motor skills are described as the body's ability to maneuver to complete a task. Early on, toddlers often struggle with coordination and self-control in their physical growth. However, a child's motor skills can be strengthened by the wonder of toys.
Mastering motor function and hand-eye coordination are two of the most important aspects of a child's early development. This aids your kid's progression through the phases of physical growth.
Toys that encourage kids to push, pull, grip, squeeze, twist, or otherwise engage their hands and bodies to make anything move or happen are beneficial to their development.
Among the most popular toys for children are those that can be held and carried by their hands, such as plushies, cars, and bricks. Using their hands to place their toys or shove them into their little pockets gives children full control. Toys featuring little characteristics, including buttons, poppers, and sequins, help youngsters develop fine motor skills.
It encourages purposeful playtime
The capacity of a child to spell words correctly, count as high as possible, and finish schoolwork promptly is often overrated by most parents. These factors are vital for a child. However, playing is equally important for a toddler. If you place greater value on a child's spelling abilities, you will interfere with their playtime.
Kids between 3 and 5 must engage in purposeful play to learn how to traverse their environment. Toys aid in the development of a child's cognitive, emotional, and verbal abilities. Playthings provide a platform for children to explore the world around them and develop new understanding actively.
It's okay for the child to become messy when playing with their toys. Of course, you should make it a point to instill in kids the importance of putting away their toys properly. Teaching your students to have fun and take ownership of their activities is an important lesson.
Toys can inspire kids to learn about STEAM
Children's brains are like sponges, and they absorb everything they encounter. As they move around, they are constantly acquiring information from their environment. For children, toys provide a new way to learn about science and technology, engineering, arts, and math. Whether a toy is basic or intricate, it teaches your child a concept. It emphasizes the value of toys in child development.
Building a skyscraper out of blocks and then watching it come tumbling down is a great way to teach your youngster about physics. As children observe the movements of a remote control car controlled only by the transmitter's radio signals, they naturally get intrigued as to how it all works. When your child solves a puzzle, their brains are stimulated and learn about patterns.
Toys may be a powerful educational tool if used correctly. It's easier for kids to learn via creative play since it's fun for them. This offers them a cognitive advantage and inspires them to keep learning about the things surrounding them.
Toys can help a child in their journey to emotional maturity
A child's ability to express their emotions is improved when they have toys to play with. Isn't it amazing how emotionally invested kids grow in the stuff they play with? This is a thing that usually leads to healthy and positive relationships.
A child's toys are associated with affection, care, and happiness because of this association. As a result, when kids love and care for their stuffed animals, they build and nurture fond memories of their childhood.
These emotional ties, in turn, are linked to their peers or family members who play with them and their toys. The presence of toys may also be used as a safe place or face for children to open up about things that are worrying or frightening them.
It's been shown that kids who play with their toys for long periods have a richer and happy childhood. This can make it a lot easier for them to go from being a kid to becoming independent adults since they will have had a full childhood.
Remember That Too Many Toys Can Be Overwhelming
Toys might be great and essential, but don't forget that a child can become overloaded by the sheer number of options available. When it comes to toys, more isn't necessarily better in terms of both quantity and quality.
It is preferable for a kid to have fewer toys that they can use in various ways, as opposed to a larger number of toys that create chaos in the play area.
Many children who have an excess of toys complain that they are bored or have trouble clearing up their toys because of the stress and anxiety of having too many to choose from.