Toys are an important part of our childhood. We all had different kinds of toys. And there were some toys which we liked so much and had so many memories that we still remember those memories from time to time.
Or our parents telling us stories about how much we were obsessed with that one particular toy when we were toddlers is a very common thing.
Toys are not just a piece of something which we give kids or toddlers to keep them occupied, toys actually have the capacity to shape a child’s mind, their thinking process, and their brain development.
Toys have the potential to help in the learning procedure of a child. Experts say that toys are the learning instrument for the children and they try to interact with their surroundings through their toys.
Safety Guidelines For Toys That Parents Should Follow For Their Toddlers Or Preschoolers
- First and foremost always read the age level of any toy before buying it. Those levels are given based on the safety factors and not intelligence or maturity.
- Toys should be large enough so that toddlers do not choke on them. As children have the natural habit of putting everything inside their mouths. Generally, any toy should be at least 3 cm in diameter and 6 cm in length, so that children can’t swallow them or they do not get lodged in their windpipe by any chance.
- It’s better not to give any small ball-like things such as coins, or marbles. If you are giving any ball to your toddler for playing make sure it is not less than 1.75 inches in diameter, otherwise it may get stuck in their throat.
- Before buying any toys with a battery first check whether it has a battery case that is secured with screws. As children coming in contact with batteries or battery fluid can cause serious health damage like chemical burns, choking, internal bleeding, etc.
- For riding toys like rocking horses or wagons, firstly check for the manufacturer’s age recommendation and also look for safety harnesses or straps so that your child remains stable and secure. These safety straps prevent your child from tripping.
- Homemade toys and stuffed animals available at the carnivals or fairs should be carefully checked as they generally do not follow safety standards.
Some other important things to keep in mind while choosing a toy –
- Toys should not have sharp ends,
- If made with fabric, then it should be flame resistant,
- Toys for infants should be resistant to chewing,
- Stuffed toys like teddy bears should be washable,
- Any paint that has been used on the toys should be free of lead,
- Coloring materials like crayons, paints, etc, should be made up of non-toxic materials,
- Small parts of toys like wheels or buttons should be immovable from the main body of the toys.
These are the few points that parents should consider while picking toys for children.
Now let’s see what are the different kinds of benefits that the children can get from playing with toys.
4 Crucial Benefits of Playing with Toys for Kids
Babies have exploring nature. So, to take advantage of that exploring nature toys, games and puzzles are being made in such a way that they can be explored, which in turn will help the kids to learn various skills even though not consciously.
Let’s see what are the skills that a child obtains from playing with different kinds of toys.
Toys help them to grow physically, develop their thinking skills and creativity, and also helps them to develop their social skills.
Motor Skills Development
The most basic thing that we all have noticed is how children always try to reach their toys. This encourages them to move their body. When they start to crawl, they try to reach for their favorite toys, which helps in body movement and the use of muscles.
Slightly older children when they are coloring or playing with their dolls, dressing or undressing them, all this helps in developing their fine motor skills like the sense of touch and sight. Games like puzzles, construction toys, or shape sorters aim at developing the hand and eye coordination of children.
Also when children start using walkers or riding toys like tricycles or doll carriages or swings, all these help them in developing their gross motor skills, strengthening their arms and legs. All these toy rides help them to gain balance and in being physically active.
If children are physically active from a small age then they can easily avoid obesity and can lead a healthy life from the very beginning.
Telegraph also published an article regarding the benefits of Children playing with toys, it states that playing with toys helps in the development of motor skills.
Toys help a lot in improving the thinking skills of the children and the creativity of their mind. They also help kids to express all the emotions that they are going through.
While playing children do role-play like being a teacher or even imitating their mother while playing with dolls. They use a lot of imagination. They create their whole new world by playing with toys. Their dolls and stuff toys become real-life characters in their imaginative worlds. Every day there is something new going on in their head. Maybe one day they are playing house with all their dolls and the next day they have created a serious situation where all their action figures are involved.
Not only creating situations in their head but they also use costumes and other props in those situations perfect like often we see small girls wearing their mother’s sarees for becoming a teacher.
Playing with dough or drawing on papers leads to their artistic development whereas solving a puzzle or making new designs using blocks accelerates their thinking procedure.
All these indicate how much imaginative power a child possesses and the toys only help them to put all their thinking capabilities into action.
Also read: Importance of outdoor activities for kid
Another very important quality that toys help to bring out in children, is the social skill. Playing with a group of other children helps kids to uphold certain qualities like respect for others, they learn to share and also take responsibilities.
Playing with other children or in a group ensures that they will share their toys with each, it promotes interaction with others and helps in making friends.
Through this sharing of toys or any group activities, they learn to respect each other and also learn to collaborate and cooperate with each other.
If a kid is playing with someone else’s toys they also learn to take responsibility. They understand that they have to play carefully so that they can return the toys safely to whoever it belongs.
Also, board games bring the sportsman spirit. It teaches children to treat winning or losing equally. Be humble about winning and not to boast about it in front of others.
Possessing these qualities since childhood paves a way to become a great human being in the future. Thus toys shape our whole personality from the very beginning.
Check this out: Best Toy Brands in India [Popular]
It is a very important aspect of child development, which deals with a child’s psychology and neuroscience.
Different toys lead to the cognitive development of children in different ways.
Firstly, playing with any toy itself enhances a child’s concentration level. Specifically, board games not only demand a high level of children’s attention but also improve their memory skills.
Puzzle games and building blocks improve their problem-solving skills.
Also, making a habit of reading picture books from a very early age will lead to language development. not only that their recognizing capacity will also increase. As children will read more books, better will be their grammar and vocabulary.
Participating in plays gives the children a chance to work on their storytelling capabilities and makes them more expressive of their thoughts and feelings.
Moreover, solving a puzzle, winning a word game, or being able to successfully finish a video game or a construction set, actually helps in boosting the self-esteem of the children.
They become more confident about their abilities and take pride in their works. Having this self-confidence in a child is very important for his or her future growth. And all these are a part of a child’s cognitive development.
Playing with different types of toys can help in the development of certain good mental development in kids, a study published on naeyc.
Read also: Best websites to buy toys online in India
How Different Educational Toys Are Benefiting Different Age Groups
By the age of 9 months, they pretty much learn to grasp things and also their sensory organs develop, so to go give them such toys which will stimulate their senses further is beneficial. Like –
- Mobile objects that dance above their cribs, those stimulate vision,
- Ring stacks, those are beneficial for grasping and also helps in color recognition,
- Push-pull toys which will help in their muscle movement.
By this time they become aware of the functions of different objects. By the age of 3 children learn to differentiate colors and shapes, they can play with balls, or can draw with crayons. They even learn to solve simple puzzles. So at this time, they should be provided with toys like –
- Balls, playing with which will develop their gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination,
- Shape sorting toys, which will enhance their problem-solving skills,
- Role-playing games like playing house or kitchen, doctor kits, or tea party with the Barbies and the stuffed toys, will bring out their imaginative power.
At this stage, they become more advanced, their imaginative games become more elaborate. They also learn how to operate electronic gadgets.
So providing them with things like arts and crafts, puzzles, video games, or block and construction sets, all these together can further improve the children’s fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and logical thinking.
Big Kids –
Physical activities are much more important at this stage, along with other skills. So if they are interested in any particular sports, then they should be encouraged to play that.
Also, at this point kids start to develop special interests in other things like musical instruments or dance. Parents should always encourage their children to do such things.
Along with fine motor skills, they also develop the attention and concentration power of the children.
We can conclude by saying that the favorite toy that we had in our childhood has influenced us and has improved our skills over the years to such an extent that we can’t even imagine.
Toys help us much more than we give them credit for.
For us elders, toys can be just some items that we purchase from some shop for gifting purposes or for giving it to our own child to keep them occupied. However, for the kids, they are their real-life friends in their own imaginative world.