The Importance of Toys in Child Development
Do you remember your favorite toy as a toddler? The answer is likely no; however, that doesn’t mean it and the other toys you were exposed to and played with on a regular basis didn’t have a tremendous impact on your overall development.
The importance of toys in child development can’t be understated. After all, research shows play is an integral part of the development process. And by incorporating educational toys into a child’s daily routine, they can learn a host of new skills that will carry them through all phases of their development process and life.
When choosing appropriate toys for your child care center, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. Especially when you consider toys’ impact on child development.
How Toys Affect Child Development
First, think about the color when choosing toys to help child development. While there are plenty of fun toys in muted colors, contrasting and vivid colors will both stimulate and encourage a child’s visual growth.
Children at this age also begin to associate color with particular objects, e.g. red with apples, blue with the sky, and so on, and studies have shown bright colors have stronger associations. Since, at this stage children are sponges and take in the world around them through sight, it’s important to keep color in mind when thinking about toys’ impact on child development.
So, make sure you’re choosing contrasting colors to help captivate and hold your kiddos’ attention as well as make the most of toys’ impact on child development.
Second, consider options that will help children develop their motor skills.
Just like anything else, motor skills improve as a result of practice — repetitive motions help develop muscle memory, which leads to increased coordination.
Children’s motor skills fall into two categories: fine motor and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills involve smaller muscles, such as the hands, while gross motor skills are related to large muscles like the arms and legs.
Thankfully, there are a wealth of toys suitable for working on both types of motor skills that can help you tap into the full importance of toys in child development.
To help develop fine motor skills, choose knob, block and peg puzzles – basically, any kind of object a child can hold and manipulate. Building and construction toys, like LEGO DUPLO blocks, are also perfect for improving fine motor skills.
The most important thing here is to think about size. Any kind of toy a child can pick up and grasp easily is perfect. However, keep in mind: the smaller the toy, the greater the choking hazard, so you never want to select a toy that’s too small. There are a number of age-specific guidelines you can follow, but generally, toys should be at least 1¼ inches in diameter and 2¼ inches in length — large enough they can’t be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe.
For gross motor skill development, think about toys that will promote whole body movement, such as jumping, crawling, balancing, bouncing, climbing and pulling toys. In addition to activating larger muscle groups and developing gross motor skills, these types of toys will also help children expend all that energy they have!
Third, make sure you have plenty of playthings to help build cognitive abilities.
It’s never too early to start thinking about promoting problem-solving skills, and it just so happens that problem solving is an inherent part of toys (and one of the key factors contributing to the importance of toys in child development). After all, think about how often you hand a child a toy for the first time and they smell, shake and maybe even taste it to see what it’s all about.
There are all sorts of wonderful toys to help child development that can improve cognitive development, including matching games, puzzles and shape sorters. Activity centers focused on sound, touch and feel, and visual perception are also excellent options.
One of the main things to remember with these types of toys is to be aware of your child’s development level and understanding. While these should be somewhat challenging, you don’t want to give them something too difficult.
The importance of toys in child development should never be underestimated. They are an important tool (when used properly) to help children meet and hopefully exceed their developmental milestones and potential.
When it comes to understanding how toys affect child development and tracking these milestones, LifeCubby has you covered. Our suite of innovative features include a fully integrated platform for observation, reporting, communications and assessment. With the ease of a button, you can track how your students are mastering new skills and share their growth with parents. You can also use LifeCubby to communicate important notions with parents — including the importance of toys in child development and how they can use them to promote development at home.
So, what are you waiting for, click here to schedule your free demo today!