Children worldwide spend most of their time playing. To an adult eye, something that would seem like “just a toy” or “just a game” is much more for a child. We can claim with certainty that almost every toy and every game has a different effect on child’s development. By playing, kids are evolving abilities, attitudes and habits that will stay with them for a lifetime. As they play they learn to share with others, to cope with frustration, to try to improve, to give voice to their thoughts and fantasies. Now that you know that, would you still call it “just a toy” and “just a game”?
There are various types of toys that are designed to affect child’s development in different ways.
Toys for physical or muscle development
These toys will help a child to manipulate materials, and in the process improve muscle control and gain strength. Playing with certain toys can help a child to improve abilities to control balance, fine-motor skills and movement. Playing with items like blocks, brooms, wagons, bikes, boxes, and shovels will encourage a kid to control its environment, from grasping a block, pushing a wagon, to exploring how things work.
Toys for social development
Make-believe toys are perfect for developing a child’s imagination, and also for sharing with other kids, participating in someone else’s fantasy, and thus, evolving social skills. A great toy is the one which encourages a child to use its imagination and to play with other kids in a “team”. Perfect toys for sharing with others are dolls, cars, and basically everything a group of kids may use as tools of game (as long as it’s safe). Acquiring playmates in early childhood will teach a kid the values of sharing and kindness.
Toys for intellectual and creative development
Playing is the key of a child’s imagination and creativity. If a child is pretending to be a fairy, a soldier, a cowboy, or a princess, that child is demonstrating its ability to understand those roles, at least partially. The best toys for cognitive development are those which motivate a kid to have its own ideas and interest, and to express them with enthusiasm. Educational toys help children learn about shapes, geometry, solving problems etc.
Toys for language development
There are no specific toys to help with development language skills, but if reading a book to a child may help. Also, recordings of stories or some educational cartoons may have positive impact. The easiest way for a child to learn a language is trough experience, by listening to its parents, television, music, kid’s songs, or playing pretends with other kids.
How to choose a right toy
First item on your checklist when buying toys for your child should be safety. It should also be a toy that a child can understand easily, but at the same time challenging. It should be age and ability appropriate, but keep in mind the child’s interests and preferences as well. Great toy is well constructed and shatterproof, because it more than once its endurance will be tested by your little one. And to make your life simpler, it supposed to be easy to store.
“The highest form of research”
Albert Einstein described playing with the words above, and we have nothing left than to trust his words. With these saying of wisdom, our argument for the importance of toys should be persuasive enough. Playing is what kids do, it is their work. They invest a tremendous amount of energy and effort into “just playing”. And all of that effort pays of, as they learn how to face with numerous challenges that life has intended to them in the future.