24 Nov 2021

Why Toys Are an Essential Aspect of Child Development

Why Toys Are an Essential Aspect of Child Development

In the United States, 90 percent of preschool children’s play involves a toy, and children of all ages enjoy toys and the roles they play in their games. Before you get discouraged when your children obsessively play with their toys, remember that they are actually essential to your kids’ growth. Beyond acting as simple playthings, studies have shown that toys are also useful for helping them develop basic skills that could benefit them for their entire lives. This is due to the fact that they provide children with the opportunity to learn through every part of their body, enabling them to refine their motor development, spark their creativity and imagination, and even help them mature emotionally.

On top of this, choosing the right toys for kids can empower them to learn through play and develop important skills more quickly. The best toys will encourage positive skills and values, like hand-eye coordination, positivity, kindness, and motor skills. You can easily link important values with the way your child plays and uses toys, so consider the roles that their toys play in their lives and tailor your decisions accordingly.

Are you ready to learn even more about why toys are such an important part of your child’s development? Let’s dive right into five especially important benefits that a great toy can provide for kids as they explore the world around them.

Toys Enhance Motor Development

Through play, kids learn how to develop fine motor skills such as running, kicking, and hand-related skills—like clapping, building, buttoning, and working a zipper. While they will start to develop these skills on their own, toys can help them master them by offering a chance to practice often. The best toys will make learning these skills enjoyable and fun, encouraging them to practice as often as possible.

For example, playing with dolls can help young children learn to dress and undress themselves as they take care of their dolls and change their clothes. Similarly, balls can help kids practice kicking and running. While some simple toys will promote coordination and motor skills, more advanced options can also encourage specific skills all in one toy. Additionally, creative activities like painting and coloring can also help develop these motor abilities.

They Can Increase IQ and Encourage Problem-Solving Skills

Play can also be beneficial for overall mental development, helping kids enhance their learning capability and problem-solving skills. Children start to learn about problem solving as early as infancy, and babies are born with reflexes that can enable them to do just that. However, these skills continue to be fine-tuned throughout childhood and adolescence into adulthood. That’s why toys that require kids to consider their options and make the best decision are so powerful.

Similarly, a child’s IQ level grows exponentially when they consistently practice and are exposed to challenging games and toys like puzzles and building blocks. In fact, toys that allow them to use their imagination to solve problems can also improve their memory, analytical thinking, and even number literacy. These skills will benefit them far into adulthood, enabling them to grow into sharp individuals.

Toys Promote Creativity and Imagination

Great toys will also give kids the space to be creative and use their imaginations while playing. Creative play is particularly important in child development because it can help kids learn empathy and a general understanding of foreign situations, as well as develop cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills. For example, when kids play pretend, they practice what it might be like to be someone else, as well as pick up on the behaviors modeled to them.

This form of playtime can also help flex creative muscles that could later help in the invention and discovery of new things, as well as understand art that has already been established. While it may seem like kids simply use their imagination because it’s fun, the truth is, it’s also preparing them to think critically for decades to come.

They Help Kids Learn to Play and Compromise with Others

Did you ever have a favorite toy that you didn’t want to share with anyone? Going through a stage in life when a child doesn’t want to share their favorite belongings or play with others out of fear that they would ruin something is normal. So don’t worry about it if your little ones aren’t up for sharing as soon as they go to school. While kids tend to become protective with their toys, play can also help them learn to work with others.

Guiding your children through playtime is an excellent opportunity to teach them how to share. For example, asking to use their favorite toy and showing them that doing so can lead to a more fun experience could be the first step in teaching them that compromising with others is a good thing. Similarly, coming up with play ideas that they and their friends are interested in can help them develop greater skills for compromising, being creative, and problem-solving.

They Encourage Independence and Confidence

Playtime with toys doesn’t always require playing with others, which is one reason why they can help kids learn to be independent and confident in themselves. Independent play is a great chance for children to freely express themselves and discover their interests without the boundaries of another’s opinions or ideas.

According to Dr. Sheila Anderson, the assistant professor in early childhood education at Weber State University, independent play enables children to “plan and carry out their own ideas. Confidence emerges, as well as the ability to sustain attention and persist in problem solving.” Additionally, giving your kid the ability to play alone will give them the tools they need to entertain themselves without technology and develop skills like patience and attention span.

As you can see, toys provide more than just a form of entertainment for children. They also help foster important life skills that they will carry with them for their entire lives: advanced motor development, problem-solving skills, creativity, the ability to compromise, confidence, and independence. With the right toys, your kids can learn all this and more as they develop into later childhood, adolescence, and beyond.

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