Playing with toys offers great fun and enjoyment for children, but it can also serve a practical purpose too. Through playing with age appropriate toys, children’s learning and development can be boosted, giving them a good start in life and a firm foundation for further learning and education. Here we look at the numerous ways that toys can help children learn.
There are various arts and crafts toys and games that help children learn to become creative and explore their creativity. As well as being fun to sit down and have a go at basic drawing, crayoning or painting, children are also helped with the development of finer motor skills. It takes a while, for example, for children to become coordinated or handle using a pair of scissors and playing with craft materials in their early years can facilitate this development.
Physical development is an important stage for children and there are plenty of toys that can help with this. Anything that gets children active, from having a go at playing a small drum when young (which helps the muscles in the arms) to using a babywalker, small ride on trucks, skipping and playing bat and ball in the garden will all help with physical learning and development.
Through playing with some toys, such as a mini workbench and tools or replica kitchen equipment, children can learn how to use different toys and build up skills of their own. As they become old enough children can, for example, then transfer their playing skills of using a workbench to having a go at basic joinery skills (hitting nails into wood) or have a go at cooking along with an adult.
Maths And Numbers
Lots of toys and games focus on maths skills, numbers and counting and offer children a good introduction to this. Although they may not be aware of it, as they’ll hopefully be immersed in the toy or game, but they’ll be learning and picking up on basic maths concepts and number skills which will help them in their later maths education.
Words, Reading And Writing
In the same way that lots of toys and games focus on maths, so to do they on words, reading and writing. Seeing words written down and learning how to read and understand them will help children significantly as they progress to learning to read and write. When they come across words or instructions written down with toys and games, it instils the knowledge that, in order to use toys and items as they grow up, they’ll need to learn to read.
Lots of mini musical instruments designed for children. As well as being good for helping children develop coordination and motor skills, they’re also a nice introduction to music, rhythm and musical learning.
From about the age of two years old, children can have a go at playing very simple instruments, such as a wooden xylophone or mini drum and, as they get older, can progress onto things like a recorder. It may be noisy for parents to endure their very early attempts, but it can be a good foundation for later interest in music and learning an instrument.