The Importance of Educational Toys on Child Development
Toys. Toys. Toys. Once you become a parent you find yourself surrounded by toys all varying in purpose, size, and material. You can’t help but to be absorbed in a world full of dolls, castles, and imagination, but has anyone ever taken the time to explain why toys are important for your child’s development?
1. Educational Toys are Tools for a Child's Development
Despite what you may have been told, toys are not just for the entertainment of your child. Sure, toys are fun to buy and can be a great source of joy simply because of how they look; however, educational toys work on a variety of key skills that are critical for your child’s developmental goals.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), about 90% of preschool children’s play in the United States involves a toy of some sort. This is no accident. Toys are designed to help kids think critically, teach social interaction, promote creativity, and engage in problem solving.
It seems almost too good to be true, but toys are indeed educational tools in addition to sources of entertainment. Keep reading to learn more about how toys work with your child, promoting child development in a variety of essential areas.
2. Educational Toys are Timeless
When it comes to picking out toys, it’s always important to remember that less is more. It can be easy to be tempted to buy the latest trend or indulge in a sale; however, simple wooden toys are proven to foster more creativity and longer play duration. Explore our site and read “3 ways to Increase Toddler Attention” to learn more about ways to help your child focus.
As a child, the world is already often overstimulating! Too many toys can do more harm than good for your child, emphasizing a minimal, easy to take in environment. When children are working on developing skills, how they interact is more important than the number of toys they have to interact with, meaning a simple, effective toy will be more beneficial than a multitude of toy options.
There’s a reason certain toys, such as blocks, last for generations and continue to be used no matter what new toy invention is released.
3. Different Toys Provoke Different Reactions in Children
It’s important to remember that every child is different! How one child reacts to a toy may have a completely different result with another. Pay attention to how your child reacts. Too many toys can be too much for the senses of a child; therefore, if a child does not appear interested, replace that toy or swap with a local neighbor or friend, providing a new option to try out without having to spend money on a brand new toy. Curious about more ways to save space? Read our article “Save your Sanity and Declutter the Play Room with these Organizing Tips”!
4. Toys Affect Child Development and Behavior in a Variety of Ways
It has been proven that certain toys impact a child’s behavior in different ways. You may notice that your child is more social when playing with one toy over another just as a different toy may promote solo play through the application of fine motor skills- that’s okay and to be expected!
5. Toys Provide Equal Benefits for Both Boys and Girls
Keep in mind that curiosity is more important to your child than playing with the “correct” toy for whether they are a boy or a girl. Research has shown that babies simply play with whatever they are given. Read “How Babies Play” here. Boys do not gravitate towards trucks and girls do not gravitate toward dolls. If a boy does choose a truck to play with, it is not because he is a boy, but rather something about the truck drew him in- it is purely a coincidence.
Remember, as stated by the NAEYC, both boys and girls equally benefit from play materials. Therefore, challenge your pre-existing notions about gendered toys and pick what your child is most drawn to! In reality, your child wants to learn and discover using whatever he or she has available around them.
Overall, toys should not be intimidating! Rather, they are meant to help you work with your child on important lifelong skills such as social interaction and problem solving. With toys, the more hands on the better! When your child is able to explore utilizing their senses they are simultaneously working on a variety of skills all within a simple act.
Blocks can be used to work on your child’s creativity through construction while also learning about balance and problem solving. Specially shaped blocks go a step further, teaching your child that similar shapes fit together while others simply will not. This is just one example of many, displaying the power toys have on learning no matter how simple they appear.
Focused on the play element of toys? Check out our article “How Babies Play.”