To begin with, here are the ground rules for grown-ups. First, don’t overload your kids with toys. Too many at once will simply overwhelm them. Second don’t take away old favourites – even if doggy, teddy, or dolly has been loved to bits. And third: suggested age ranges aren’t set in stone. Be patient if a child can’t yet cope with some particular game. She’ll soon get the knack.
As a natural, on-going part of our work as parents, teachers, early childhood specialists and others involved with children at home or elsewhere we observe children at play. This includes selecting the right products to enhance play and learning.
We can depend on the durability and versatility of such items as blocks, construction toys, games, puppets, and transportation toys. They stimulate the imagination, engage the player, have value and hold up over time.
“There. Did you see that?” a worried mother asked her friend after observing her gifted daughter stand up and walk away from two other little girls who were playing a card game.
What some parents conclude after watching their gifted children at play can be very far from the reality of the situation. Some parents, like the one from above, believe that their child isn’t being social when she doesn’t play with the other children. In fact, the issue might not be with the playmates; rather, it might be the choice of games, because gifted children learn and grow from play. Of course there are important social issues for gifted children that parents need to consider; however, since the gifted child can process at a higher level, he or she might gravitate to older children or to other children who have the same interests and abilities rather than to the boys and girls of the same age.
Children are little sponges when it comes to learning, and they are perfectly capable of doing that without toys that are described specifically as educational toys. Children’s toys are supposed to be fun, and most educational toys that children love will combine learning with having a great time.
The old classic children’s toys like Lego or Playdoh are great for stimulating child development and creative tendencies. Young children can start with the basic sets that don’t come with any complicated extras and work their way up.
Children’s educational toys are an essential component to every child’s playroom. Life would be much easier if we could just accept the fact that kids have always, and will always, spend most their time playing with toys. In the last few years, parents started getting more and more interested in choosing all sorts of educational toys for their children.
Playing with educational toys is one of the means that help children to establish contact with the world they live in, especially during the infancy stage. During the infancy stage, toys serve as educational materials to stimulate the child’s sense of sight, hearing, and touch. A rule of buying educational toys is to keep in touch with the child’s interests.
Once your kid has graduated infancy, the learning process becomes a little more complex. A year ago, they were learning how to eat solid food by chewing on a pillow. They were learning what would eventually allow them to read by staring at the mobile above their crib going around and around. Now it’s time to start thinking about reading, mathematics, basic building and organizational skills, further social development… the list goes on.
The wrong way to go about teaching these skills, and certainly you know one or two parents like this, is to treat the educative process too much like… well, academics. You don’t want to turn learning into something boring, with worksheets and assignments and so on. Learning should be fun, and if you teach that at a young age, it will remain with your child through their whole life.
But how does a parent know how much is too much to give? The dilemma is persistent though perilous when parenting pre-teen and teenage daughters when stuff and idols have their most tenacious grip.
What could be more innocent, more harmless than toys? If we were the toymakers, our products would no doubt reflect our love for children, our love for God, and our desire for holiness and purity. Unfortunately, the shelves of most toy stores are filled with toys made by those who are definitely of another mindset entirely.
Do children need toys? I would answer yes. Less affluent children have, for centuries, created their own: a piece of wood wrapped in a scrap of cloth became a doll; other bits of wood became animals, houses, tools, or weapons. Children seem to need to play almost as much as they need food, shelter, and love. Toys are the necessary props.