Smarter kids: The influence of toys on a child’s development.
In addition to being fun, toys help psychological, physical and emotional development of children. Child psychologists agree that many of the ‘old fashioned’ toys have a positive impact on children, in contrast to the many computer games and consoles that are popular today.
Playing with musical instruments and other objects that produce sound allows the child to discover the source, method of distribution, and distinguish the strength, height, length and color of music and sound.
In the game of musical instruments children meet their musical possibilities, create their own ways of musical expression and reproduction, reveal their observations, feelings, needs and fantasies, thoughts and ideas, and their creative achievements.
By playing with board games the child acquires social properties, which are reflected in the development and strengthening of moral-volitional qualities (perseverance, courage, determination, patience and self-control). All this contributes to the development of cooperation and tolerance, which are necessary for the collective game.
Team play provides a positive atmosphere and the good mood in the group, the possibility for every child to express their feelings and thus foster and strengthen positive emotions, and to direct and control the negative ones; which should also be expressed, but in an appropriate manner.
Toys like roller coaster tables, geometric pin-heads, magnetic boards with geometrical shapes and didactic cubes will help the child to practice small motor skills, eye-hand coordination, to learn about relationships of big and small objects, characteristics of flat and curved surfaces, the directions in, out, up, down, over and under and so on.
Children will explore and discover the characteristics and relationships of things during the play time, while coordinating their actions and movements.
Push and Pull toys.
At the time of their first steps, children have a strong need to get moving and improve coarse motor skills. They are tireless in an effort to overcome obstacles in the way of their independence. During this period and later, push and pull toys like cars, trains and other ‘vehicles’ attract the attention of the children and give a new quality to their movements.
Walking becomes fun, while achieving a goal and meaning.
Push toys give the impression of support and draw children’s steps forward. The sound these toys make is also a pleasant stimulant.
Pull toys have the same task, but they require somewhat greater motor maturity and confidence in walking.
A jigsaw puzzle is a toy that provides a high level of children’s autonomy and self-confidence. Through this game the child develops thinking, perception and reasoning, and encourages the development of graphomotor skills, where the child improves precision and coordination of movement.
These toys follow the individual pace of each child and at the same time motivate them to use their efforts and persistence in order to enter the next phase of development. There are also 3D puzzles like Happy Cube, which can improve hand-eye coordination, stimulate brain activity and improve memory.
Playing with cubes meets the natural need of the child to explore while manipulating specific objects. Pictures on cubes further motivate children to persevere in the game because creating a whole of the independent pieces is a challenge that has a personal meaning for a child.
In a psychological sense, cubes encourage self-confidence, persistence, perseverance and independence. Based on this, they encourage the development of visual ability (through work attitude and the whole picture, and through observing shapes and colors that make this content), motor skills (development of fine motor hand) and memory capacity (observe details in the picture, their memory and association as a whole).
Collecting different kinds of toys like dinosaurs or always popular bobbleheads, pictures or even stamps, or whatever comes to mind, is not only fun, but will make great memories later in life.
Collecting also helps a child to learn to be organized, neat and meticulous.
Children who collect things will also find an interest in the background story of their collectibles thus learning more about the world around them.
Toys that should be avoided.
A toy can be bad for a child for many reasons.
For instance, it may be inappropriate for the age of the child (i.e. toys with small parts are not safe for young children because of the risk of swallowing and choking on them) or is simply inadequate regardless of the age of the child (i.e. toy gun).
Toys that do all the work.
Imagination is the key to the creative development of any child. Dolls and stuffed toys that talk or sing when the child presses a button or pulls a string omit imagination from the game, and are particularly inappropriate for children older than 18 months.
When the toy is too specific, it restricts and hinders the ability of the child to use their imagination.
We live in the era of electronics and, consequently, a large number of different video games can be found in stores. Most of them are harmful to children’s development.
One study found that electronic toys pose a potential threat to the health of children and their development in several ways, including hearing loss (due to excessive sound in games), obesity (due to inactivity and constant sitting at a computer), as well as delayed speech and language development.
The toy gun in particular is an unfit toy for children.
With more and more cases of school shootings and gun violence in our society, it is inconceivable that we would give a child a toy gun. It is important to make children realize that the scenes of violence involving the use of weapons from television shows and movies are false, and that they shouldn’t try something similar at home with a toy gun.
Toys have a major impact on a child’s growth and development.
From an early age, during childhood and teenage years, a variety of toys for children can definitely affect the physical development, emotional intelligence, the development of logical thinking, the ability to solve complicated tasks, and similar psychological benefits and features. Therefore, play time is extremely important from the earliest time of childhood, and with it, children’s toys provide a source of fun and learning.
As the toys vary from period to period, they need to be selected according to their appropriateness for children of different ages and the desired learning goals.
Tracey Clayton is a full time Mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate in writing. She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”