Toys are pretty much the first few objects that your child interact with as they slowly learn to explore their surroundings, learn to grab objects and recognise them. Being spoilt for choice with the increasing number of toys in the market, how do we select the type of toys that have more than just an entertainment value for children and what toys are they?
Let’s look at some of the first set of toys that children are most likely to play with, which we might consider before we get them their next favourite toy!
Dolls and toy figurines
You’ve seen kids who come up with elaborate stories while playing with their toys. Maybe the teddy bear is having a party at his Lego house with a Transformer. Or perhaps Barbie is driving the minions around!
Toy figurines and dolls stimulate imagination and pretend play as children come up with various scenarios to show off their creativity.
Jigsaw puzzles and shape sorters
Toys such as jigsaw puzzles and shape sorters encourage children to develop skills like knowing which shapes fit with each other (spatial relation); coordination between the hand and the eye and fine motor skills (using the small muscles in the hands and fingers). In addition, such toys also encourage problem solving.
Although the initial process might be a little frustrating to them when they are not able to complete a puzzle or figure out where the next piece should go, eventually their persistence pays off as they learn from putting the shape blocks /jigsaw pieces together over and over again.
When your child plays with toys that allows the use of both hands, it improves coordination between the hands as well as the eyes and other skills like gripping and holding a toy. Play dough and balls encourage the use of both hands as children work on building their perfect structure or have fun in a simple game of throw-and-catch. You can even make your own play dough at home or buy edible play dough that is safe for your children to use!
Maybe your child has a flair for abstract drawing or painting! Give them coloured pencils, crayons and papers to see just what they can come up with. Be a little more adventurous and get them interested in finger painting! There are also kid-sized easel stands that provide an authenticity and make them feel like artists! Drawing and painting also provides a creative outlet for them to express their thoughts and feelings, especially if they take some time to open up to you or are normally not the expressive sort.
Bicycles, rollerskates, skipping ropes
Don’t let your children be cooped up at home! Take advantage of the good weather (when there is one) and bring them to the park or playground. Kids are a ball of energy and apart from running about in the playground, climbing up and down, they can also cycle, rollerskate/blade or use their kick scooter (which has been catching up in popularity!) in the park. Furthermore, physical activity releases dopamine, which is a brain chemical that improves your mood!
Apart from the tricycles, bicycles and kick scooters, you can also get skipping ropes and hula hoops for your child. Playing with hula hoops improves flexibility, coordination and core strength whereas skipping also increases coordination, balance and gives your child a sense of rhythm.
So there you have it; some of the factors you may want to consider before buying the next toy for your children! Consider how these toys may add a learning value to them as well as the different benefits they offer.
Share with us your decision-making process before you select a toy for your child!