There are five main skill areas in child development: language, cognitive, social, gross, and fine motor skills. It is also a well-known fact that kids learning takes place mainly through play. The more children play, the more learning and development occur, and their skills are developed. So, should we provide our children with lots of toys so that they can play more?
Well, the answer is yes and no. Yes, children need ample opportunities to play alone, rather than having someone always telling them what to do or just plopping them in front of the TV. No, by all means, children do not need lots of toys to play with. It is not the number of toys but the type of toys given to the child that makes a difference.
The human brain is capable of learning, and the brain of a baby and very young children is truly fascinating, they learn and absorb things at a phenomenal pace. In the initial days, a kid’s learning occurs naturally and effortlessly, the only difference being in the experiences and the activities that your child is exposed to.
The key to success is providing your child with a stimulating, activity-rich environment. The environment that your child is in should enhance language development, and provide hands-on experiences and a range of sensory-rich opportunities for them to explore and internalize. When it comes to actual toys, think of the traditional toys, ones that do not have just one specific use. Toys that light up, and make sounds are definitely more attractive and always get your child’s attention, but there is nothing much the child needs to do other than, pull it along or push a few buttons, after a while, they get bored as there is no exchange happening and it is very little for your child to do. Blocks, cartons, playdoh/clay, and so on can be used in numerous ways, giving your child a chance to think, experiment and create. They also learn problem-solving and organizational skills when they use such toys.
Here are our Top Picks for Learning Toys that Help Child Development
Books as recommended by almost everyone in the field of early childhood. Books feature as the number one choice everywhere and are the best choice to help your toddler’s language development. Books provide a plethora of experiences other than just reading or teaching your child new words, it gives your child a chance to imagine and wonder. There are a wide variety of books to choose from, simple picture books, flap books, Rebus books, themed books, hardboard books, books they can use in the tub, and so much more.
One of the benefits of reading to your child is the easiest way to bond. As your toddler’s development increases, they will ask questions, perhaps even try to read out some words with you. As your child develops a love for reading, you will notice their language, vocabulary, and communication skills gradually improve. Instead of buying books, join the local library, you can even share books with friends and family.
2. Art and Craft
Though used synonymously, both are very different with respect to child development. Art is more open-ended, fluid, and a less structured activity giving the child a chance to tap into their imagination and creative side. Craft is more project-oriented requiring structure and direction, teaching the child to listen, understand, and follow what is being said. Both help in eye-hand coordination, fine motor development, decision-making, concentration, spatial and visual reasoning, helps boost self-esteem and reduce stress.
Keep it simple with a variety but minimal amount of art and craft supplies, too much will overwhelm the child and will lead to wastage. Simple crayons, paints, thick felt pens, sheets from old colorful magazines, newspapers, small cartons, old plastic bottles, the cardboard from the toilet, and kitchen rolls can all be used for various simple art and craft activities.
3. Costumes and Props
Costumes and props allow children to pretend to be something they are not. It develops the child’s cognitive skills by nurturing their imagination and creativity along with their language skills, thinking, and social-emotional skills. It teaches them empathy as they must put themselves in someone else’s shoes. So give them daddy’s cap and shoes, maybe mummy’s dupatta, bindi, and purse, and watch them pretend to be like mama and papa. It is a good way to review how your children see you.
This is one of the best toys any child can get. Blocks of assorted sizes, whether plastic or wood, will keep your child occupied for hours. Blocks are versatile and durable and lend themselves to various learning experiences. Blocks that fit into each other like Lego, are easier to use as they are more stable and can be used in intricate construction projects. The non-fitted blocks teach the child about shape, balance, and stability. Though leading to a lot of frustration initially, there is a sense of accomplishment when they persevere and finally learn how to manipulate them successfully. They will then be more confident to try out another project.
5. Alphabet and Number Magnets
These are easily available. Stick them on your fridge or your metal cupboards and let your child play with them as you do your tasks in the kitchen or bedroom, and you can keep an eye on them. When playing with these magnets, your child is familiarizing themselves with the shape and direction of each of the letters of the alphabet and numbers. Slowly, as they begin school, watch them spell out different words for you to read.
6. Mummy, Daddy, and Me
Parents are the ultimate thing the children would love to play with, and they are safe, interactive, encouraging, versatile, and can provide hours of fun anywhere. Play with your children, allowing them to take the lead at a make-believe tea party or a war enactment. Let them win to build confidence but learn that losing is also part of the game. Make sure you notice, comment on, and praise their efforts. This is a good way to give your child positive attention.
Click here to visit a EuroKids centre near youand see how simplistic toys and equipment are used in the best possible manner to aid in toddler and child development.