The importance of playtime for children cannot be overstated. The art of play is a vital part of development for children of any age, and serves as a stimulating and rewarding introduction into the physical world. Even the simplest type of play is an invaluable experience for the young child. Plenty of research backs up the importance of play, which can be found at the click of a button online.
It can be fascinating to watch babies and toddlers embark on play. For them, ‘social’ games such as peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake or ‘this little piggy’ are a joy, and expose the child to both tactile sensations and language.
Playtime is also important for a child’s bodily development. It helps them understand the possibilities of physical movement and the functioning of their limbs. Muscle development is also a consequence of playtime, while crawling, walking and eventually running help motor skills.
It is the impact of educational toys, however, that can really make playtime a beneficial exercise.
Often the best toys are those that allow the most creative freedom to a child. Simply building blocks – either those as small as Lego or those half the size of the child themselves – offer a huge possibilities to the toddler.
Play is often best when it is initiated by the child, and with building blocks there is no instruction to follow nor ‘right’ way of doing things. Stacking blocks is an early example of problem-solving, while invariably children will repeat the same formation time and time again, an accomplishment that allows the child confidence and encourages them to come to the conclusion that they can experiment with new patterns with blocks.
Puzzles are perhaps best suited to 3-5 year-olds, and are also superbly useful in developing the mental faculties of a child. In their own time, they can come to understand shapes, symmetry and patterns through puzzles and jigsaws.
Floor puzzles can assist with cognitive thinking, problem-solving skills and importantly, creativity. They can also introduce children to the world of art and pictures, while puzzles are often done with others, facilitating the development of teamwork and camaraderie.
Such things as puzzles can greatly enhance memory ability and concentration, too.
Options for older children
Simple toys such as building blocks and puzzles are ideal for young toddlers developing their basic skills, in their generally non-specific nature and freedom. But as a child gets older, they may be open to more advanced and particular toys. This is where more complex puzzles come in and educational toys relating to both words and numbers. Books, CDs and multimedia technology can also be introduced through educational toys, while it is always a good idea to see how a child responds if you give them a ball of some kind.
Safety and ethics
It should go without saying that educational toys you buy for your child should be both safe and ethically sourced. So: always read the labels on the toys you are purchasing, keep up to date with news and developments in the toy-making industry and always buy from reputable distributors. Australian readers can buy educational toys online.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post brought to you by our friends at oo.com.au.
Tuesday 9th of October 2012
Very good points :) My daughters are older now but I really encouraged puzzles and building and other activities to stimulate creativity and problem solving!