Anyone would be forgiven for viewing toys as special occasion gifts that offer a temporary distraction for children, or as objects that entertain little ones while we busy ourselves with grown-up duties. Yet beyond this, toys open up a world of learning opportunities for kids.
The benefits of playing with toys
Playing with toys equips children with skills that foster their development beyond imaginary battles between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their enemies, or playing house with the yummy smelling Num Noms.
Along with many other valuable dexterities, toys help kids develop fine motor skills and think creatively. The more children play with toys, the more equipped they become for progression to other stages of their lives. While they play, children learn a number of skills they will need and use as adults.
When children use toys where they create things, using clay and moulds, they are able to build and refine their fine motor skills. They can also learn about different colours and shapes.
Once the project is complete, this can bring a sense of achievement. These feelings build and reinforce self-esteem and self-confidence.
Playing with dolls encourages role play, where children can look after a “baby”, put it to sleep and take care of it. Role play can also lengthen a child’s attention span through games, and multiple storylines, characters and endings. This enables children to develop better judgement, reasoning and problem solving and negotiation skills.
When playing with friends or siblings, children can develop social skills, such as taking turns, working together in a team, listening to each other, playing fairly and helping each other.
Before just randomly choosing a toy for your little one, consider what stage of growth they are in and match your toy selection to the skills you would like them to practise and learn.
For more information, visit www.primatoys.co.za.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.