Do you remember your favourite toy growing up? It didn´t matter whether it was a doll, a stuffed bear or a plastic soldier. That was your favourite toy and you loved it more than anything else in this world. What you probably don´t know is how it influenced your education and how, over the years, toys continue to improve the abilities and skills children need to prepare them for life. Here at The Toy Blog we wanted to unveil why toys are so important in childhood development.
All experts agree: children learn by playing and toys are the instruments that allow them to discover the world they live in. And this is precisely why they interact with their surroundings thru toys. Plus, toys provide plenty of enjoyment and happiness, both of which help build their self-esteem.
Toys get children engaged in physical activity, by exercising their fine and gross motor skills. Whether they are colouring or dressing and undressing a doll, for example, children are using their sense of touch and sight (fine motor skills) while walkers, tricycles or toy cars boost their physiognomy (gross motor skills) and strengthen their arms and legs. Toys also help them discover balance and coordination and by being physically active, children avoid obesity and adopt a healthy life style.
Ever since they are born, toys motivate babies to use their feet and hands in order to discover forms, colours and sounds. Once babies know how to sit and crawl, toys incite them to be on the move. If their favourite toy is out of reach, the baby will use its muscles to try and grab it.
Toys boost children’s´ creativity and they help them express their emotions (internal and external). Whether it´s thru role playing (acting out different characters, use of costumes, etc.) or dolls, children are given the space to imagine familiar situations (playing house, a day at the farm, a visit to the hospital…) or invent fantastical worlds that lead kids to abstraction (action figures, science fiction universes…) The capacity to generate symbolical games reveals a mature personality, capable of creating rules of its own.
Often times, adults tend to identify the word toy with “something they sell at the store” but children, on the other hand, see toys are the objects included in their playing. These objects can be something real like a set of keys, a pot, a roll of toilet paper, or things they can transform such as clay, play dough, paint. These tools all help teach kids how to make decisions as they help spark their imagination while creating a universe they can play in.
Aside from improving children´s language skills, toys teach social skills and gives them an understanding of the society they live in. Toys invite children to interact, first with adults and then with other children their age. The simple act of playing with another child challenges them to experience situations where important lessons are to be learned: respect, cooperation and sharing. Toys also motivate kids to take initiative, learn to negotiate and teaches them how to get better organized.
Toys promote children´s cognitive development by stimulating their concentration and memory skills (board games) and giving them the ability to solve problems creatively, which is key to their future autonomy (playing with building blocks). Cognitive development is important because it enables children to approach math and language skills in a way that´s fun for them.
Did you know that toys were so important in childhood development?
October 9, 2014 : Written by M. Rodrigo Brao