Toys of this category help children learn through activities that challenge their hand-eye coordination and improve both their gross and fine motor skills. Children that learn best through physical play are often athletic and enjoy sports, so the optimal toys for this developmental benefit of play focus on manipulating objects, building, dancing, and role-playing or other forms of make believe that involve motion, action, and the working of big and small muscles. These kids are on the move, and they need toys that will keep up with them!
All children are natural learners; constantly absorbing new experiences in their everyday lives. Therefore the toys they play with play an integral part in this learning process.
All children develop at different rates, while some may be walking at 10 months others are still toddling and falling at 15 months. Some children have strong abilities in one field while others are adept at another field. Therefore developmental guidelines should be used as a general rule of thumb.
You can build all kinds of educational toys with everyday household items. Remember for younger children, the toys need to be safe. Use the same guidelines you would for buying toys off the shelf. If your child is under 3, be careful of small parts. Don’t use plastic bags in toys designed for this age. For all children, be aware of sharp objects.
Quality education and teaching is very important to the mental health and growth of children. The brain of a child is very much like a sponge that can absorb enormous quantities of information. The more it absorbs, the more the brain expands as they grow. It is because of this, that day care toys are so important at an early age for purposes of teaching.
Children often learn to identify items, colours and people on their own. However, a formal introduction i.e.: “This is a chair. This is the colour blue. Etc”, will always help them identify objects and the uses for which they exist. The children will grasp fundamental skills faster.
Some people think that baby products are frivolous objects created by man to occupy a child’s attention while mom or dad has something else to do. This is a misconception. Playing does help a child develop crucial skills; toys are the tools for them to learn and develop those skills.
Marilyn Segal, Ph.D., dean emeritus and director of the professional development program at Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova South Eastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says that playing is how kids learn about the world. It is through playing that their social, emotional, intellectual, and problem-solving skills are enhanced.
Dr. Linda Lindsay, professor of sociology at Maryville University, believes it is nurture that triumphs nature. When children are very young, she says, they are given stuffed animals. As they get older, girls continue to receive stuffed toys, but boys begin to be teased or chided, especially if he plays with the toy in front of others.
For children to get the most out of toys they must be safe and the right toy for the child’s age and ability. Some toys such as bicycles and skateboards are not easy to manage and children need some help before they can use them safely. Other toys may not be safe because they are for older children, or because they are not well made. Here are some ideas about what to look for.
It is normal for young children to explore, touch and move whatever they see. You cannot teach a young child to play safely. Child safety depends on you. Put away things that they should not touch. Watch what they do. Stop them if what they do is unsafe.
High-tech toys, which entertain with microchip-powered songs, sounds, flashing lights and vibrations, can stimulate toddlers, but researchers say there’s no credible supporting evidence showing that they enhance cognitive development or creativity or have any long term effects.
Children will get far more meaningful stimulation from the sounds of the people, animals, and objects around them, notes Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., an educational psychologist in Vail, CO, and author of Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence. So play with your baby often. You are your baby’s favourite toy and best learning tool. Babies crave one-on-one social interaction and need the security it provides. There’s also a role for quiet time, when the brain consolidates what it has learned. “If there’s nothing that’s entertaining, it gives the brain time and space to learn to manage itself,” Healy says.