Research shows that learning through play is an important part of a child’s development. Though ensuring your child has enough play time is a great benefit to families to allow their children to release some extra energy, a child begins to find out who they are through play, even during infancy. Even early in development, a child’s mind is expanding just by looking at their environment and taking in their surroundings.
Through play and with the use of educational toys, children learn many different skills they will need in their life such as:
- Problem solving and learning cause and effect
- Learning how to play with others through compromise, conflict resolution and sharing
- Development of fine and gross motor skills
- Nurturing their creativity and imagination
- Discovering their independence and positive self-esteem
Children can start benefiting from educational toys as early as one month old. For young infants, sensory play will help stimulate your child’s senses. Mobiles, soothers and infant play gyms are great first toys for children as they focus on sensory play through sound, sight and touch. As your child continues to grow and develops hand-eye coordination, families can begin introducing toys that encourage more interaction such as portable toys which will continue to inspire visual and hearing senses with flashing lights and different sounds.
As your child gets older, introducing age appropriate toys will help them continue to learn and hit their milestones. Problem solving toys such as stackers or blocks will help your children work through conflicts and develop an understanding of cause and effect. These types of educational toys will also help them build confidence once they’ve learned how a toy works after trial and error. As your child becomes more mobile, you can introduce walkers to help teach them about coordination and balance. You can also introduce numbers by counting your child’s steps.
For older children two years or older, introducing toys that promote physical play. When they are old enough to use a tricycle, bike or roller-skates, ensure your child understands the safety concerns that comes with these toys and incorporate wearing a helmet and/or other protective gear in the process of using these toys. Families can continue to promote creativity and problem-solving skills by giving your children more complex building sets. Children will also become familiar with how words they hear look on the pages by families spending time reading together.
Learning through play doesn’t stop in the house or in the classroom. The importance of outdoor play for young children cannot be overstated. That’s why we suggest families bring learning to the great outdoors! Go on a walk and gather nature objects such as sticks, leaves, etc. to use in art projects later. Families can simply just enjoy the outdoors with some fun water play or bringing a blanket and some toys outside to enjoy.
Incorporating play in your child’s day can be both fun and beneficial to their growth. What toys do your children love that help promote learning and growth?