Extensive research indicates that learning through play is an essential part of a child’s development. Even in their infancy, children start to discover themselves and the world around them through play. Right from the start, children’s minds are expanding and learning simply by looking at their surroundings and taking it in.
The importance of educational toys lies in the fact that they can help children learn a variety of different skills needed later in life. They can be of great assistance in developing problem-solving skills, enhancing motor skills, teaching about conflict resolution and sparking creativity and imagination.
Here are some facts about how educational toys can help in children’s development.
They enhance motor skills
Educational toys are important for developing sensory-motor skills in children. When a child takes a toy and learns to operate it, their motor skills improve and they become better at hand/eye coordination which helps them advance through later stages of physical development. The movements that these toys demand of children, such as pulling, pushing, pinching or turning are instrumental in a child’s growth.
Smaller toys, such as toy cars, dolls, and building blocks that fit into children’s hands are often favourites as they are easily carried around. Being able to handle them lightly, position them the way they want to or even stuff them into their pockets gives children the feeling of ultimate control.
On the other hand, larger toys allow children to use their entire bodies which greatly helps in their physical development. It could be anything from learning to ride a bike or a scooter, throwing or catching a ball, or jumping rope. Any of these activities practiced early helps them handle harder tasks later.
They promote problem-solving skills
Educational toys are also useful in boosting a child’s IQ level by improving their coordination, concentration and memory retention. A wide range of special needs toys can also include children who need help with speech and communication. Through play, children are able to focus on a certain task for longer which teaches them to stick with a problem until they find a solution. For instance, by doing puzzles, children focus all their attention on finding the right pieces and fitting them into the correct place. This helps their minds grow and develops their problem-solving skills, and it’s extremely beneficial later on when they start their academic journey.
They teach about STEAM
Children’s brains are like sponges constantly absorbing new information. The right educational toys can lead them to explore anything from art, science, and mathematics, to technology and engineering. Every situation can be a lesson – a tower of building blocks falling down teaches about physics, and a remote control toy car buzzing through the room sparks curiosity about radio waves.
Almost all toys have educational powers that should not be underestimated. As long as they engage the child’s senses and occupy their attention, it will stimulate their cognitive and motor skills, and make them excited to continue learning and exploring the world around them.
They promote creativity and imagination
In addition to fostering learning and growth, educational toys also promote creativity and imagination in children. Toys that can be used in a variety of ways expand children’s narrative thinking helping them create stories, interpret the world and think outside the box. Any simple toy, from cars, dolls and blocks, to balls and pretend food can be the beginning of a new story. They’re an invitation for children to create their own version of events and live out entire scenarios in their heads. This type of play is essentially their first learning grounds and classroom.
They help develop social and emotional intelligence
Educational toys enable children to take on role-playing thus allowing them to understand emotions and develop empathy. These toys can create various social situations that involve waiting, sharing and bonding, plus, children learn to respond to the emotions of others, such as anger, sadness or happiness. This develops their emotional intelligence and helps them learn about themselves as well by interacting with their own feelings.
Toys can provide safety, connection and positive memories. Children often associate their toys with love, attention, and happiness. They also include their playmates, siblings or parents who play with them in these emotional connections. All of this helps them enjoy a healthier and happier childhood which they can remember with fondness as they transition to adulthood.
The importance of toys in child development should be considered both in terms of the type of toys they get, as well as how many they get. Children don’t necessarily need more toys, they simply need better ones that boost their learning, creativity, physical growth and imagination.