A child’s learning skills and cognitive abilities are influenced by the toys they grow up with and how they play with them. From puzzles and action figures to a big pedal car or building sets, toys mould creativity in a toddler’s mind in a way that is unmatched by other sources of entertainment. Like a sponge, a child’s mental development is based on the type of information they receive and continue to obtain as they grow through different phases of their lives. Many research papers published by various Australian universities indicate the importance of toys to a child’s mental well being and how different interactions build neural connections capable of shaping their decision-making skills as they grow up. Take a look at some of the reasons why toys are a viable part of a child’s mental development:
- Toys keep a child entertained while the parents or guardians are busy with work.
- Playing with toys builds curiosity and breeds healthy exploration skills that allow kids to solve problems, find solutions and help experience real-life scenarios through their eyes as they play.
- Toys allow children to play with parents and elder siblings, allowing them to bond with the family.
- Buying The Right Toys According To A Child’s Age:
Imagination is the key thing to consider here and the most powerful and entertaining factor of them all. It is the sense of imagination that allows the child to see huge stone castles when looking at bucket-made sand mounds, envision a fun meeting with a lively conversation while it’s only the dolls and plastic cups and stay away from the lava floor as they jump across seats and couches. As far as imagination is considered, the toys they play with also matter to a great extent.
For babies, the most common experience is grabbing or tasting and it’s the growing brain’s way to deduce the vast surroundings around them. Grabbing items coordinate neurons to control stronger grips allowing the development of vital motor skills progressing with time. During this age, interactions with other people, especially the parents, help formulate important cues for communication and social skill development during their infancy. Big objects that are solid and brightly coloured are the most common toys bought which include big dolls, moving toys around the crib and other objects such as the remote that plays a vital role in developing attention spans and coordination of finger muscles.
The environment grows a bit more for toddlers as they are more in tune with pattern recognition and communication. Buy toys and puzzles that create a sense of adventure or functionality and also allows learning skills such as counting, recognising or remembering names, colours and patterns. It is at this age that they start to seek out more complex mechanisms that can peak their interests.
After this age comes the golden age of every child and where imagination works at full capacity. The preschool age brings with it a new sense of curiosity and a way of creating random scenarios during playtime. Imaginary friends, adventures with dolls, pretending to shoot laser beams out of a plane, there are no limits. Construction sets, superhero models and other toys that relate more to real-life scenarios like toy hammers, uniforms and even a pedal car, mimic the way society works and builds familiarity.
But don’t forget that children have the best toys on hand already, parents! The only thing they’ll spend more time on than their toys is their mothers and fathers and siblings too. Gestures and communication skills are taught this way and it builds the ability to recognise names and words. So find an excuse to spend time with them every day as it is crucial to a child’s mental development and well being.