Who doesn’t love toys? We all have fond memories of a special play thing from our childhood, an object that we were especially attached to ,which has a significance that remains untouched by time. Toys are the epitome of joy, happiness and gleeful satisfaction. It is impossible to understand the value and importance of a toy to the child who owns it. To us, a battered toy car with its wheels coming off is simply another item. To a child it’s a gateway to a racing track, stimulating their imagination and helping them enter a different and detailed world.
There is much more to toys than happiness and a few hours of fun. They are critical to the development and healthy growth of a child. Children’s personalities and their futures are shaped by the toys they have access to and play with during their childhood. It is a concept that goes beyond physical safety, which is why many toys and games are rated according to the age group they are best suited for. Let us take a closer look at these deceptively simple toys and the deep impact they have on our kids.
The Importance of Toys to Kids’ Development
Playing with toys and games is arguably the activity that children spend the most of their time on, apart from sleeping of course. Until kids move past the ‘preschooler’ age group (4-5 years), they spend almost all their time at home and school playing around. It isn’t surprising that they are greatly impacted and moulded by these objects. It is essential to find a balance when choosing toys for kids. A child who constantly reads playbooks without a breath of fresh air for days, will not be a happy or a healthy child. Similarly, a kid who gets to run around in the park for hours but has no access to toys involving simple alphabets and numbers will struggle in the future with speech, learning and sharpness.
The Healthy Growth of a Child must Include
- Physical Development – this is achieved through regular activity, which in turns enables proper development of muscles and strengthening of bones, as well as healthy respiratory, cardiovascular and immune systems.
- Cognitive and Psychological Development – this helps a child grasp concepts easily, learn quickly and excel in basic functions such as speech, observation, listening and thinking. Educational toys and games are fantastic for mental and cognitive development.
- Development of Social Skills – this is especially important during the late toddler and preschooler years, when children interact heavily with other kids. Strong social skills help children adapt to society and remain confident and at ease with themselves and their surroundings.
What Is the Best Toy For Kids?
Simply put, the best toy is one that covers all three components of healthy development of children – physical, psychological and social. Obviously, the activities and toys that tick all three boxes are limited. Sports is one such activity but children begin to play organised sports at a slightly later age stage, while the focus must start as early as the toddler and preschooler stages.
As a result, the best toy is a balanced variety of toys, games and activities, which together help kids develop naturally and properly. Typically, social skills are one aspect of childhood that tend to get delayed, especially in countries with lower populations. The best way to develop social skills is through group activities and games. By being part of a group, children not only learn to interact and communicate with others of the age group but also develop moral values and skills such as teamwork, sharing and empathy, all of which go a long way in the future.
At the same time, it is of paramount importance to acknowledge that the single most important factor in the healthy development of a child is love, affection and time of the parents. Rather than providing children with toys to keep them occupied while the parents aren’t around, it is much, much better when parents participate with their children in bonding activities, games and play together.