Research has been done in the area of child's play, learning, toys, etc. What was discovered was that the importance of toys in child development was significant. Granted, making sure that kids have enough time to play and release all that pent-up energy is essential. But it turns out that what they play with has a lot to do with how they develop – particularly during certain years. Even during infancy, children start to discover what makes them tick – basically, who they are. They take in their surroundings, they look at their environment, and their mind is always working. So it only makes sense that the toys they surround themselves with end up having a major influence on who they become and how.
Here, we take a look at how children develop and the importance of toys in that process.
Your child will need certain skills later in life. Many of those skills can be learned, at a basic level of course, through the right educational toys. With these toys, your child can start learning skills such as the following:
- Discover positive self-esteem and independence
- Nurture imagination and creativity
- Develop gross and fine motor skills
- Through sharing, conflict resolution, and compromise, learn how to play with others
- Learning cause and effect
As early as one-month old, educational toys can start benefiting a child. The following uses age ranges and is a breakdown of the benefits of educational toys.
TWO YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER
Children are particularly active at two years of age. That can mean the introduction of "physical play" toys on a more focused basis. Think basketball hoops and tricycles. Be sure that you tell your kids about safety concerns where active sports are concerned, show them how to use the toys properly, and so on.
Cognitive skill building toys become important at this time as well. Forming letters and shapes in the sand, for example, helps them practice writing their names, drawing, and to develop fine motor skills. Teach them how to hold a paintbrush, use chalk, and so on. It's never too early to encourage creativity.
Other toys can include complex building sets, counting toys, games that encourage recognition and literacy, and more.
1 TO 2 YEARS OLD
At about one year old, mobility becomes an important part of your child's life. Walkers, riding toys, push cars, etc., help to teach coordination and balance. With this newfound mobility, expect your child's curiosity to increase. By counting their steps, you can introduce them to numbers. By setting up detours and forcing your child to discover a different route (as they are using their riding or push toys), you will be encouraging direction following and problem solving.
Playsets with themes can be introduced between 12 and 18 months and are excellent educational toys because they help develop skills of recognition in your child. As an example, animal playsets help them identify sounds that animals make (you may need to assist by providing the noises). These types of sets can also help reinforce the names of shapes, colors, etc.
ONE MONTH TO 12 MONTHS OLD
Your child's senses are stimulated through sensory play even this early on. Infant play games, soothers, and mobiles are perfect first toys because they help your kids focus on sensory play using touch, sight, and sound. Portable toys and those which encourage more interaction can be introduced gradually as the child's hand eye coordination develops and the child grows.
Blocks and stackers can be introduced eventually to help develop problem-solving as the child grows older. Cause and effect as well as working through conflicts will be learned through a "What will happen if I do this?" method of play. Trial and error are an important aspect of this type of play and learning.
If you want to be sure that your child has some of the best toys for their developing years, check out the impressive selection of learning toys from KidPowered.