Rham is a vegan who dabbles in writing fiction and poems. She co-founded Penmancy, a writing platform for amateur poets/fiction writers.
Children are curious. They learn things by exploring their surroundings. They love to touch and feel things. That’s how they make out the world around them. They learn from what they see, hear, touch, smell, and feel, and toys play a crucial role in achieving this learning. As parents or guardians, it is our responsibility to provide them with toys that are safe to play with, toys that expose them to all kinds of opportunities where they can explore their personality, and toys that would eventually help them identify where their interests lie.
Below are five toys that parents should invest in for their kids that would be important for their overall growth and development.
Puzzles are brainteasers. They intend for our brain to solve a problem by putting pieces together in the most sensible way possible. And they are crucial in developing many skills including. . .
- Fine motor skills. While your child picks up puzzle pieces, hold them without dropping them on the board and fitting them with the other pieces, they are exercising their small muscles (such as muscles in the fingers).
- Visual perception. Puzzle pieces come in different shapes, forms and images. When your child solves a puzzle, they are presented with these attributes. They have to identify which piece fits which part of the puzzle by determining which shape, colour, or form to choose. Developing this skill plays an important role in making children understand why two pieces should connect together and how.
- Hand-eye coordination. Hand-eye coordination is the ability of the hands and the eyes to work together in perfect symphony to carry out tasks. This is exercised when children take a particular piece of the puzzle and fit it in the right place.
- Early Maths. Puzzles are an excellent tool to introduce your child to early maths. Patterns and shapes are basic concepts of mathematics, and puzzles introduce these concepts.
Blocks or building blocks are construction toys that children use to build structures or design shapes by stacking and arranging one block at a time. Towers, houses, and castles are just a few examples.
These toys are powerful learning tools and help children develop the following skills:
- Fine motor skills. These skills refer to the ability to use the muscles in the hands and fingers to hold objects without dropping them.
- Hand-eye coordination. Building a structure requires concentration. In order to stack blocks in the right places, children have to use their hands and eyes effectively. Otherwise, the entire structure that they are trying to build can collapse anytime.
- Problem-solving and critical thinking. When children start to build structures, they undergo the process of trial and error. They experiment with which designs look good, and if the results aren’t satisfactory, kids knock their work down and think about how to go about it again for a better outcome. Once a structure collapses, it makes them ponder why and how it happened, hence, prodding them to identify what went wrong. This process is a good activity for their brain.
- Creativity. Playing with building blocks encourages children to be creative. They learn to create structures, design shapes, and experiment with various forms, among other creative ideas that they might come up with while at play.
- Communication skills. One of the advantages of these toys is that kids get to talk about their work. And this is truly successful when you engage with them and let them explain their finished product.
Sensory Play Toys
Sensory play is also known as messy play. The term ‘messy’ refers to the activities that sensory play toys provide your child. The word sensory pertains to the use of our five senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. Materials such as clay, paint, water, sand, and glue are perfect examples of toys that your child can play with. One such perfect activity is to blindfold your child and let them identify certain household items through touch and smell. Identifying the smell of vinegar or the texture of rice or beans is just an example.
Playing with sensory play toys. . .
- familiarizes your children with things that would play an important role in their overall growth and development,
- allows them to explore various types of items and objects of different shapes, colours and textures, and
- exposes them to the world of senses where they get to exercise their eyes, nose, ears and body in a fun and enjoyable manner.
Imaginative play is also known as pretend play, make-believe or drama play. It involves role-playing or imitation of roles that are common in our society. Toys such as action figures stir in children the need to pretend to be heroes saving people from the evil grip of a villain. Other toys like play doctor kits or kitchen sets enable children to imitate doctors and chefs, saving patients and cooking delicious meals.
Engaging in pretend play is not only fun but also educational. Also, it
- nurtures imagination,
- develops thinking skills,
- enhances social and emotional skills, and
- promotes communication or language skills, among other skills.
Musical Toys and Instruments
Scientific studies show that playing a musical instrument engages the brain in interesting activities involving all its areas, especially the visual, auditory and motor cortices. It somehow sets up the brain alight like fireworks but in a way that the neurons in the brain don’t get burned.
There are many benefits to playing with musical toys:
- It nurtures your children’s artistic nature.
- Exposing them to different kinds of musical toys at a young age may spark interest in music and could boost their singing skills.
- It also improves memory. Repeated exposure to music acquaints children with the tune, melody, rhythm and lyrics of songs.
- It develops gross motor skills. While fine motor skills involve the hand, finger and toe muscles, gross motor skills, on the other hand, are skills that involve the use of the bigger muscles such as the muscles of the body - arms, torso, thighs and legs, and are responsible for our ability to stand erect, balance our body, hold heavier objects, etc.
- Children will learn to appreciate—and perhaps to love—music as they grow into adults.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.