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Do your children have tons of toys? If you are looking for gift inspiration click here to discover what it takes to create a Christmas hit.
How many times as a parent have you thought that your children have preferred the wrapping paper over the actual contents of the gift? How many times have you watched your children play with an empty box for hours on end? Maybe it’s a spaceship? Maybe it’s a den? Maybe it’s a car? Maybe it’s a dolls house? Whatever it becomes, a box can provide hours of entertainment for children.
How many times have you watched your children jump in muddy puddles or run outside and thought – they don’t actually need any toys!
I have had these thoughts over and over again as a parent and we’ve had our fair share of big box constructions too!
On one level I totally agree that children need very little when it comes to toys. However, I also think that well made, thoughtfully created toys can have so many benefits for children.
Here are a few reasons why:
Toys stimulate the imagination
Good toys can help children to make sense of the world around them. One of the things I love to see is when real life experiences inspire play and these things interact.
It’s so lovely to see children using their toys to act out things they’ve seen in real life, or perhaps on the television. Small world play with figures is great for this, as are vehicles and things like dressing up and other role play activities.
One of the things my children have all loved over the years is the play kitchen and play food. The number of times they’ve set up their own coffee shop or restaurant, or even taken things into the garden and set up a ‘beach cafe’ – they love this kind of play and these toys are perfect to encourage their imaginations to grow.
Toys are fun
Think back to your own childhood, what toys did you enjoy playing with? What were the really fun things you had? As a child I loved My Little Pony and I would use my ponies to create new worlds and lands of adventure. The ponies were always so busy, heading off on a new adventure most of the time.
These to me were fun toys. Combined with things like a swing ball, which I always found fun and a space hopper, which I really enjoyed.
Toys support development
Construction toys build fine motor skills and improve concentration. Arts and crafts support and encourage creativity and stimulate the senses. Push-a-long toys help to teach cause and effect. Role play toys help children make sense of the world around them. Musical toys improve rhythm and cultivate talent. Outdoor toys improve gross motor skills.
The list really is endless when you begin to really think about what toys can offer children.
Toys encourage good social skills
Sharing, taking turns and working as a team to solve a ‘problem’ are all important social skills that can be enhanced by playing with toys. It might be a board game or an outdoor game of dodgetag. It might be racing cars down around a track, or a game of dominoes or taking part in a scavenger hunt.
All these activities encourage children to talk, share, understand and problem solve as a team, or one at a time, learning from each other.
What benefits have you found from providing your children with a range of toys?