Children learn about the world around them through games and play. During this time, they develop the necessary skills vital for later in life. And, since they are influenced by their surroundings, toys impact their growth by engaging their physical and mental recourses in a fun and interesting manner. Additionally, early toy preferences may provide a window into their future job occupations and roles in society. This is why it is instrumental that parents observe their child’s behavior and supply them with toys that support their passions.
Generally, a good toy is one that is fun for your child and suitable for his age, developmental needs, and personality. In this regard, recommending specific toys to families is not practical simply because play interests vary greatly across cultures, children and families. However, the highest-scoring toys so far have been classic wooden toys. These toys are relatively open-ended, so children can use them in multiple ways. Also, they have all been around for a long time. There may be a reason these toys have been enjoyed by children over the generations!
The Importance of Educational Toys
Usually when we talk about educational toys, we first think of toys that assist kids in learning alphabet, science, or math! But that is not the only early learning toys a kid can benefit from. For example, learning for babies can cover more basic concepts such as seeing, hearing and moving. Children can start benefiting from educational toys as early as one month old. At an early age, sensory play helps stimulate your child’s senses. So, what is sensory play? Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing.
From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them. Children and even adults learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses. Many of our favorite memories are associated with our senses. for instance, the smell of a pumpkin pie in an autumn afternoon in your childhood home, the touch of your parent’s hands on your back to support you while riding your first bike, loud laughters with your best friend. Now, when your nostrils and eardrums are stimulated with those familiar smells and sounds respectively, your brain triggers a flashback memory to those special times.
Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through sensory play is crucial to brain development; it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. For example, play gym and stroller toys are great first toys for children as they focus on sensory play through sound, sight and touch. As your child continues to grow and develops hand-eye coordination, families can begin introducing toys that encourage more interaction such as rattles which will continue to inspire visual and hearing senses.
As your child becomes more active, we suggest introducing problem solving toys such as stackers or blocks. These toys will help children work through conflicts and become familiar with cause and effect such as "If I do this then that will happen". They will also build up their confidence once they figure out how a toy works.