How long a child will be captivated and play with a new toy is one of mum and dad’s first considerations when buying baby toys or children’s toys. Nobody wants to see the traditional cliché of forking out lots of cash on a toy and find the child playing with the box it came in! Yet another major factor but one that many parents don’t take into account are the positive effects a toy may have on the advancement and development of the youngster.
Children grow in a variety of areas these are; cognitive (physically), and socially (through interaction with other children and adults). A well designed child’s toy can, as well as being great fun to play with, help to trigger growth in some of these areas. So when you visit the toyshop are there any simple do’s and don’ts we should be considering when selecting that critical purchase?
First of all, and somewhat controversially, you can pretty much steer clear the new wave of electronic toys and computer run educational toys available. Experts discovered that these toys are goal oriented, meaning that a kid isn’t learning to think creatively or exploratively in their play, and thus their cognitive growth is not triggered. Toys that coax the child and thereby reduce the child’s efforts and cognitive process in play do not stimulate development. This class of toy will not give a kid the chance to think creatively or discover new ways of creative thinking. As any parent knows a child’s imagination is limitless and it is this gift to think differently from adults that enable a child to grow cognitively at such an incredible rate. If the toy only has one path and one outcome, a child will not learn to decide between options to work out a puzzle.
University studies have demonstrated that old fashioned toys are the most beneficial when it comes to triggering cognitive growth simply because a infant can employ them in any variety of ways. This enables a den to be anything from a house to a market stall to the space co-ordination centre for the latest mission into outer space. Jean Piaget, a revered child physiologist, termed new methods of thinking “schemas”. Schemas are developed through the kind of creative thinking we describe here.
Traditional baby toys also come up trumps in the area of stimulating motor ability too. A child’s physical advancement can be divided into two major areas; gross motor skills (the growth of the large muscles so we can run, lift and move) and the fine motor skills (these allow us to control objects with our hands with great skill and care). Classic, traditional toys such as sorting cages and xylophones are super fun for young toddlers to develop hand-eye co-ordination, while bikes, trikes and toddler cars keep older kids moving as they develop their growing muscles, strength and co-ordination.
Finally, it’s clear that the most straight forward toys might be the answer for social growth as well. Toys that trigger interaction and team work are a superb way to develop a child’s ability to empathise and work with others. Role play toys are amazing at this, allowing a kid to practice unfamiliar situations in a safe place and also to interact with other children to produce more complex make believe situations. They permit a kid to act out scenarios and better comprehend the environment around them whilst being secure at the same time.
Remember the following points before you start your next Christmas shopping, It will help you greatly.
1. Can the toy be used in a number of different ways?
2. Can a infant change the purpose of the toy with his or her own minds eye and ideas?
3. Would this toy be durable, safe, captivating, enjoyable, and certified for that age of child?
4. Can the toy provide increasing levels of difficulty so it can grow with the child?
5. Check whether the toy is suitable for use with other youngsters, permitting interaction.
6. Is this toy simply a flash in the pan or will it remain a component of your little one’s life for years to come.
No matter how fancy it looks, or how well advertised or packaged it is, the robot dinosaur will never offer your child the development of skills that the plain old pull toy offers. The spotty dog will still be taking walks even with the batteries drained on the Robo-Dino.