Why Toys Are Important for A Child’s Development
Do you get nostalgic when you remember your most favourite toy while growing up? You didn’t care whether it was a stuffed teddy bear, doll or a remote-control car. It was your most valued possession, and you treasured it more than anything in this world. Moreover, some of you might still have your favourite toys buried away somewhere in the garage.
The toys you choose in their early development stages are essential for their motor skills, social skills, cognitive thinking, language skills and emotional well-being.
What you failed to acknowledge or realise back then was the role they played in your education. Over the years, doctors and experts have continued to emphasise on the immense value toys add to the lives of your children and how they help in their development.
Kids are a sucker for toys. In most cases, parents buy their kids toys for entertainments purposes; to enable them to get busy with them as they get one or two things done. Although this is a noble thing to do, it should not be the reason any parent buys a toy for their little one. Toys largely play a very vital role in the development of your child.
In fact, research shows that children learn through play, and play items such as toys not only help them discover the world they live in but helps in predicting their intelligence.
As they continuously find happiness and enjoyment in their favourite toys, they can develop and master several skills that come in handy in their later lives. Certain things that adults do can be linked to toys. For this reason, it’s always vital to consider your child’s development when buying toys for your kids.
Why Are Toys Important?
There are plenty of lessons that your child can benefit from if you make the right toy choice for them. As a parent, your number one reason for buying your little one a toy should be because the said toy choice can help promote learning and growth in your kids.
The toys you choose in their early development stages are essential for their motor skills, social skills, cognitive thinking, language skills and emotional well-being. Before reaching out and picking out a toy when walking down the aisle of the toy store simply because it is popular, think long and hard on the influence it will have on the development of your little one.
Have the below reasons in mind why toys are important for your kids, and you won’t have a problem choosing what toys to get them.
Enhancing your child’s brain function
Toys that have educational value are known to enhance the brain function of children making them smarter by stimulating their minds. According to a study done in California by Stanford University, certain permanent changes in the brain get triggered by skills absorbed early in life that are crucial in decision making much later on in life.
Toys that need to be poked, prodded or beep are more likely to develop the brain of your child for future ventures. Scientist revealed that the ability of the brain to learn new skills when a child is still young makes it possible for neurons to build new connections in the brain that function into adulthood.
The brain is seen as plastic that has genetic templates that issue it with guidelines that help shape it. However, as time passes and kids continue to grow, the brain uses experiences and environmental signals to wire itself into the future.
Toys are a good way of getting the brain to learn and recognise certain patterns that can help motivate it to adapt to changes around it.
Development of language skills
Whenever you coo or make funny sounds at a toddler, they are pretty much learning basic communication. The little gurgles they make is an attempt by them to communicate with you. Whether they are made out of excitement, dismay, pleasure or any other kind of emotion, they are simply trying to express themselves.
When you sing to your baby, they are not only soothed by the words, but they also try to learn the words. As they continue to grow, they are able to mimic the words of the song or story you tell them.
Having children’s songs recorded and played out to them when you aren’t able to carry them is therefore very much encouraged. Even when they are infants, reading to your child should be something that you do consistently as a parent as it plays a significant role in teaching them language skills.
Cognitive thinking – Cause and effect
We all know how important cognitive thinking is. Not just for children but for adults as well. Most times as parents, we teach our children the art of cause and effect (also known as cognitive thinking) without the realisation that we are.
When you buy them a rattle and they shake it, they’ll recognise that it makes noise. At the same time, when they cry, mummy will go to them; if they tag and pull at something, there will be a reaction; if they laugh, daddy or mummy will laugh. In short, cognitive thinking enables you, baby, to have a feeling of control over the world. Additionally, there are plenty of toys that are available in the market that helps teach children the art of cause and effect.
For example, puzzles. They are a good way of teaching cognitive thinking as they enable kids to fit the puzzle pieces together. In this aspect, they are learning how to put things in the right order which is what life is about; having the right perspective about things. Parents can use various toys that incorporate shapes, colours, size as well as numbers to help teach cognitive thinking.
Development of social skills
Developing the social skills in your child can definitely be gruelling. More so when your kid doesn’t want to share their toys or play it rough with his or her friends can be frustrating.
Buying your child, a toy that they can share with their siblings or other kids helps foster their social skills development. Of course, a parent with one child might find it hard teaching their kid socialisation. However, all hope isn’t lost. Parks and playgrounds are a perfect place to teach this vital skill to your little one. In addition, if you have neighbours or relatives with young kids, having arranged play dates can also come in handy.
Bringing along their most favourite toy and not just any toy is what helps teach socialisation. Being able to get along with others or share things is not only important as they grow into adults but is also an important skill in the workplace. No one man is an island. The earlier you begin teaching your child to share their belongings and get along with other people, the better it is as they continue to grow.
Motor and fine skills
Toys are a good way of getting children engaged in substantial activities by allowing them freely to exercise their motor and fine skills.
Take an example of a doll. When they are undressing or dressing it or drawing a painting, they are learning their fine motor skills. In doing the above, they are learning to master their sense of sight and touch. When they grasp the objects in their hand, they are developing their motor skills. The first step in their gross motor skills is when they manage to get the object to their mouths.
Mobile toys hanging over a crib are the best way to teach motor skills. Most baby toys are colourful which kids find attractive and delightful, and he or she will pay attention and try reaching out to them.
Toys help children develop a sense of coordination and balance. By continuously being active, your child will not only live a healthy lifestyle, but will also not become obese. Toys enable the little ones to use their hands and feet to discover sounds and colours. As soon as they learn how to crawl and sit, toys encourage them to always be on the move. If a toy they are interested in is far from their reach, they will go after it and try to grab it which involves them using their muscles.
Sense of safety
At the infant stage, kids feel safe when they are held or cuddled. They learn to get the feeling that someone will always be there for them no matter what. This goes back to cognitive thinking where they learn that a certain feeling will get a certain reaction.
As parents or siblings play with their little ones, they help them feel safe and secure. It’s important for parents to take time out of their busy schedules and spend some alone moments with their children. Of course, this is pretty easy when the child is an infant as they will need to be held, nursed or fed. However, as they continue to grow and get more active, things change as parents begin to spend less time with them.
Still, there are several options that as a parent you can consider. For instance, you can read to your child at night before they sleep, try figuring out a puzzle with them or help them paint or colour. Picking a toy that can help them play it with you or an elder sibling teaches them that someone will always be around for them, that they are loved and are growing up in a safe and secure environment.
What Kind of Toys Can I Introduce to My Kids at Certain Stages?
For kids, toys provide more than fun and entertainment. There is so much that they get to learn from them which boosts their development. Below are some kind of toys you can consider depending on your baby’s age.
Toys for babies
When kids are born, they are eager and excited to learn about their new surroundings. And they have so much to learn. For them, every sound, colour, shape, size, taste and texture is a learning encounter. At this stage, make sure the toys you buy for your child are safe and can help stimulate their brains to discover their senses. Infants get more excited with musical toys and rattles. Toys with multiple colours are fascinating and help in the development of their vision. As they grow, toys can be used to explore the relationship between cause and effect and blocks can help in building their fine motor skills and sight coordination.
Toddlers and toys
Unlike when they were small, at this stage, toddlers can play with a wide range of toys. This is not to say they might not find the toys they used as babies fascinating. Far from it. Some might even grow and continue with one or two toys form their early days. However, the same toys can offer them new educational opportunities as their knowledge base expands. Most importantly, you will need to buy them toys that are suitable and appropriate for their age. For instance, shape sorters are ideal for them. They are able to learn how to match relatable items and allow for parents teach the name of shapes. On the other hand, Lego blocks are ideal for teaching them about symmetry and colours as they continue to develop their fine motor skills.
Toys for school-aged going children
This is the ideal time for kids to start learning about numbers, letters and languages. Whatever toy you get them at this age should enhance their mastery of the three. There are multiple toys available that can help them learn the alphabet. From simple puzzles to electronic devices. Such toys are ideal for giving your kid a head start in things they will learn at school. At the same time, they can further supplement their learnings with educational and fun toys. Getting them toys that enhance their learning experience will make kids more interested in school as they will be able to grasp and relate what they learn at school during play time. The more they play with certain toys, the more all they have learnt gets reinforced and retained in their minds.
There is a lot of benefits in getting your child an educational toy. Experts and doctors have emphasised the importance of play in helping your child learn key skills that are vital in the future. Moreover, you don’t need to buy your kids expensive or the latest trending toys. In fact, the latest trending toys might not be the best for your child’s development goals. As you buy your little one toys, ensure that they enhance both individual playtimes as well as sharing.