Toys are known to be effective instruments which enable toddlers to explore and discover the world around them. The process of learning in toddlers is eased and transformed into fun because of use of various toys.
- Toys are very important because they engage a toddler’s senses, encourage interaction and spark their creative imagination.
- Playing with toys influences education, builds skills and abilities in growing children and prepares them for their life ahead.
- Toys are also known to build self-esteem in toddlers because there is an element of enjoyment, happiness and fulfilment attached to play.
- Various colours, shapes and sounds of toys motivate children to use their hands and feet, to move by crawling or walking, hence inciting their movement, strengthening their muscles and improving their balance.
Play with toys and development in toddlers
Its very important to know how and why toys are important for a child’s development? What are the different ways playing with toys promotes and nurtures thinking, language, physical and socio-emotional attributes in toddlers. Lets have a look at how does a child learn through play?
- Development of Motor skills
Playing with toys gets kids engaged in some or the other type of physical activity. This assists in fine tuning their fine and gross motor skills, improves their balance and keeps them active physically.
- Enhanced emotional development
Playing with toys makes children more creative, enables them to express emotions better, enhances their decision making abilities and broadens their imaginative faculties.
- Social development
Toys assist in improving language, communication and interactive skills in growing kids. By sharing toys with other children, they also learn to share, co-operate, organise things better and respect others.
- Cognitive development
Playing with toys helps in improving memory in growing children, improves their ability to focus and enhances their concentration span.
Selection of toys for a toddler
Toys are a child’s best friend. They hold an important role in making the child happy and keeping him busy and involved.
- Age is an important consideration while selection of a toy. While toys for newborn are centred around gross motor development and sensory development, most toys for toddlers and preschoolers available in the market are focussed on building their cognitive skills
- Toddlers generally have developed choices of their own, hence inclination to toy types should also be considered at the time of toy selection.
- Hazards associated with a particular toy should be checked thoroughly. Size of the toy, sharp endings, material, etc. should be checked upon.
- Factors such as durability and price of toys should also be considered while selection of toys for a toddler.
How different types of toys promote development
- Walkers, tricycles and toy cars- Use of such toys promotes physiognomy or gross motor skills and also strengthen arms and legs.
- Playing with dolls- These enable children to use their fine motor skills and exercise their senses of touch and sight. Open ended toys like dolls, puppets and art supplies promote creativity, sense of discovery, sense of humour and social development.
- Board games- These assist in improving concentration and enhancing memory skills. They also develop skills whereby toddlers evaluate alternate solutions and learn to think differently.
- Building blocks- Such toys help in making children creative and imaginative, helps them learn the art of solving problems and develop logical thinking.
- Puzzles, play doh, colours and paints- Use of such toys promote practicing of new skills again and again. These encourage development of spatial relation skills, improved hand-eyes co-ordination and improvement of fine motor skills.
A few things one must keep in mind is that while you select toys for younger kids, it is very important for the toys to be safe.