In our childhood, we used to play with the toys we liked the most. However, toys are not just for passing time and keeping the child busy, but they are also for supporting the child’s development. For this reason we should consider the educational values of toys.
Photo: Horia Varlan / Flickr.com (Creative Commons).
One of the main purposes of toys is to give children the chance to discover and get now abilities. For instance, do you remember the first time you played a toy keyboard or another musical toy instrument? Wasn’t it a nice feeling to hear the sounds, when you pressed the buttons?
Another things to consider are toys like Lego blocks, with increasing complexity of structure. Playing with such toys may eventually lead to interest in architecture or engineering. Also, children learn the natural laws with these kinds of toys. Think about the rules of physics, for instance, if you put three blocks on the right and one on the left, you know it won’t stand. The explanation is the gravity center. Children don’t care what it is, they just take one block from the right and put it on the left and see it’s done.
One important thing to remember is that toys should be selected regarding the child’s age. Most parents have a tendency to choose toys from the adult point of view rather than considering the child’s own interests. All boys don’t have to play with cars and all girls don’t have to have baby dolls, even though there are certain differences between the preferences of boys and girls.
Another aspect is that while playing children show their real emotions. His or her whole personality is expressed clearly, and parents should pay attention on the patterns while the child is playing with their friends, and observe whether there is something wrong in the relationship between the children, jealousy or hate that should be controlled by the parents.
Playing together encourage the social development in children. Almost any good toy can be used by more than one child, and children learn to share things. Just as we get skilled in basketball by actually playing basketball, we develop our personality traits this way.
Imitation is another important way by which humans learn. Children begin to imitate at early ages. Doing what he or she sees others and especially parents doing is particularly common at school age. The child can imitate social behaviour in much greater complexity than at the age of four or five.
Later, children also start to wonder. They don’t care about seeing the sun and the moon, for example, and saying “Look! It’s the sun!” or “Look! It’s the moon!” doesn’t mean a lot to them. More importantly, they want to find out, why sun goes and moon comes, how the sky gets darker. They don’t want to just sit and push a button, and then see things moving. They want to know why and how it’s moving.
At the age closer to school age, it’s better to teach simple principles. They are today’s children and will be grown-ups of tomorrow. We should do our best to help them understand.