The Importance of Play and Toys in Child Development

Research has found that playing and toys, educational or otherwise have a big impact on a child’s early development. The importance of learning new skills through play and the role that toys have in developing gross and fine motor skills in kids cannot be understated. However, it is an area that is not widely understood or appreciated by parents. 

There are a variety of toys from clay and putty to building blocks and lego sets for sale, what is important is that you understand how interaction with the toy will benefit your child before spending large sums of money on fancy toys. While all toys are great at entertaining, you will want to choose some that are educational. Some of these toys can also be used by children at different life stages. Building toys for example can be used by children as young as 4 past the first year of school, making them a good buy.  

Playing and toys have an important role to play in the child’s emotional as well as social development. Children discover themselves and the world around them through playing and toys where they learn to cooperate, learn teamwork and learn to experience and express their emotions.

For you, toys may seem like nothing more than something colourful and interesting for your child to engage with and pass time with, however, for your child it is an object that can open up a world of experiences for them. These experiences introduce them to engaging their creativity, imagination and decision-making skills among a host of other developmental abilities. Toys can act as a conduit to help a child express their emotions better it could be through role-playing or make-believe where they mimic adult behaviour or invent fantastical scenarios to make sense of the world around them. 

Besides emotional development, toys can also facilitate social skills and development in a child. Children will often use toys such as animals, cartoon characters, dolls and teddy bears to express their emotions through language and physical gestures like hugging. Toys encourage children to interact with adults and other children helping them to develop a range of social skills. Social skills are learned through the experiences they encounter while playing with toys with others. They learn to respect others’ wishes, learn to be assertive, and cooperate with the group or another to achieve a common goal and handle a setback or defeat all through playing.  

It is a well-documented fact that educational toys and engaging in regular play nurture a child’s cognitive development. Construction toys, board games and musical instruments all serve to enhance a child’s concentration ability, problem-solving skills, perceptual skills and ability to think and reason to achieve goals. These skills can be learned from simple tasks like building a structure using building blocks or learning to ride a bicycle. 

There’s also the well-researched and undeniable benefit of gross and fine motor skills development through toys, play or even a regular but fun activity like gardening or baking cookies.

Cadi Hopper
the authorCadi Hopper

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