Curiosity, Creativity & Discovery: The Importance of Toys in Children’s LifeTweet
Everyone can remember their favourite toy, whether it was a teddy bear, a wooden train or a model plane. What we probably didn’t know then was how important playtime was in influencing our characters, aiding our development and preparing us for the future.
At the most obvious level, toys help develop a child’s motor skills through hand-to-eye coordination practice. Playing with wooden shapes and blocks is the foundation of counting and problem-solving skills, and helps with spatial awareness and rotational symmetry.
Look out for puzzles and toys that feature craft materials. Whether it’s Play Doh or paint, they stimulate children’s curiosity and creativity. Shapes and colours stimulate their brains and prime them to recognize and even name them quicker, but any toys or games that can be shared with other children fosters the growth of interpersonal skills, social skills and those all-important human relationships.
Playing together with other children has always been a breeding ground for disgruntlement, disagreements and arguments. Often, the most important lessons in life are the hardest-won though, so it’s no surprise that getting them to share their toys with others is sometimes one of the day’s biggest battles. However, toys and games designed for multiple players will contribute not just towards improved interpersonal skills but introduce them to the concepts of winning and losing, which even adults know can be a hard fact to accept. In any event, getting used to both those concepts can ultimately generate a more rounded emotional development.
Buying toys without breaking the bank
The problem many parents encounter is the cost of some toys, especially if your kids’ burning desire for this toy or that crashes head-on with the everyday reality of making ends meet until the end of the month. However, children’s curiosity is equalled only by their appetite for stimulation, and they tend to get bored very quickly. How do you keep the supply of fun, educational and stimulating toys coming without breaking the bank?
There are a few options open to you: first, you could try recycling some under-used toys, presents and basic household items to keep them busy in an interactive environment. Pretend shops can be hastily put together with a few empty boxes and some fruit; balloons help with shape and colour recognition, and letting them go pop, despite the inevitable tears, teaches them to be gentler with delicate objects. But that lesson will need a bit of patience!
Some say the internet is damaging the local toy shop, but sometimes, when it’s the only place you can find a bargain, you’re left with little choice. And internet sites offer huge savings on bricks-and-mortar shops. If they’re screaming out for a durable plastic toy which you know will help their imagination develop as they play, it’s a no-brainer. Some sites will offer vouchers or discount codes on many items, including from internet toy retailers, so it’s worth either registering on those sites if you can, or searching them every few days to see what’s available.
So whether you’re buying Little Tikes online at Tesco, or out down the main shopping street testing out the Lego, you’re never short of fun toys that will aid in the development of your children. Keep your eye open for the bargains, because they are out there.
Images by vastateparkstaff and Miki Yoshihito, used under Creative Commons licence