Mom shakes her head as she looks sadly at your toy boxes. She doesn’t understand how “all those toys” aren’t interesting anymore. Well, you know how Moms are – they’re a little slow some days. We get it, though.
We get that once you’re past babyhood, infant toys have nothing left to teach you. We see that you can best host the excitement and adventure of your imagination with toys closer to your age. We understand because we, too, have our favorite toys (ours are bigger, noisier, and make the coolest mess,) books, artwork, and music. We get you.
Now, how to make Mom understand? Why don’t we start with the types of toys available? If Moms knew which types of toys were proper for each age, then they might not be so upset that you don’t play with some of them anymore. Be sure and tell us if we don’t get it right, because Mom needs good information, okay?
Categories Of Toys
Mom needs to get the difference between categories and types of toys. Your toy boxes don’t contain just toys. No, in your toy boxes are a group of things called toys. Inside this group of things are specific toys, and that means a type of toy. Your dolls, for instance, are a specific toy inside a group of toys in your toy boxes.
In the categories, box go toys teach cause and effect, puzzles, physical activity and/or development toys, sensory toys, food toys, and even toys for the mouth like candy necklaces and blowing bubbles.
Mom should know toys made of wood, toys made of plastic, cloth toys, and tech toys. We’ll go over how all these fit into your toy boxes so that you can explain it all to Mom.
Cause And Effect Toys
While Mom understands “if A, then B,” she’d get it a lot better if she saw you crash your Tonka truck into a tower of building blocks. She sees that every day on the way to work. She’d get it when she watched you push buttons on a toy for certain results, such as the sound of a telephone ringing, a flashing light, or the sound of a cow mooing.
Cause and effect toys teach older kids hand and eye coordination when pressing a button or a part of a toy and getting a result. They learn to focus, such as when they roll a bowling ball toward pins. Children learn motor skills and logic when they figure out how to press a button, push a tab to the side, or turn a tab one way or another and watch as the corresponding figure pops up.
You see this in many infant toys shaped like a stuffed worm or a round stuffed pillow-like toy. When the infant presses a certain part of the toy, a sound emerges. Sometimes it’s a crinkle sound, sometimes the rattle of beads, or perhaps a squishing sound. The infant is learning “if A, then B.”
Puzzles come in all shapes and sizes. They’re made of wood, plastic, cloth, or cardboard, and some puzzles come on electronic toys such as the old puzzle game Tetris. Puzzles teach different lessons from babyhood to toddler to school-age children :
- Concentration. A child learns to focus on the task at hand and to work it until completion.
- Recognition. A child learns shape, color, and specific placement from puzzles.
- Fine motor skills. A child learns hand and eye coordination, problem-solving, memory, and visual skills working on puzzles.
- Tactical thinking. You can only do a puzzle one way, so the child learns patience until it’s finished, critical thinking, judgement, and logic.
- Social skills. Sometimes children will work puzzles with other children in a daycare or nursery school setting. If a child has trouble figuring it out, the other children will help. This teaches a child that there is someone outside themselves and that other children matter.
How can parents teach their little girls how to dress, use a fork, or brush their hair? With a doll, of course. How can parents teach their little boys how to share their toys, play constructive games, or role-play instructively? You can do this with action figures and puppets.
The simplest toys such as stuffed animals or a Batman figure can teach kids social skills, language skills, emotional skills, and practical things like learning how buttons work and how to pour their juice. Here are some types of toys in this category toy box.
Building toys. Who doesn’t love a box of Legos, Lincoln logs, blocks, or other building toys? Kids can sit for hours building towns, trucks, monsters, tall buildings, and whatever else is in their child’s imagination. Which is sort of the point, right?
Musical games and toys. How un-fun would life be with no music? Teach your kids how to dance, socialize, appreciate music, and even how to sing with musical games and toys.
Life toys. Geez, Mom, how can you play store or restaurant or shopping without a shopping cart, a cash register, a table and chairs, and some cooking stuff? Even a toy broom and mop teaches kids that clean-up comes after almost everything, even at work. There are garden toys, building toys complete with tool belts, and even a toy hairdresser set with a hairdryer, mirror, scissors, and hair rollers.
Kids get a chance to help Mom and Dad with real-life things as well as teaching their dolls and stuffed animals to do it. They can tell their friends all about it, which increases social skills.
Wheels. Mom, does it bore you to be at home with nowhere to go and nothing to do? It’s the same for your children. Without your driving license and car keys, though, they have to make it up as they go along. So they hop on their three-wheel trike, roar off down the hall, and come to a screeching halt at their destination, where they immediately slay the bad guy and save the day. Makes you wish you had one, too. Me, too.
Dolls, action figures, and puppets. When a child carries a stuffed animal everywhere she goes, talks to it, and interacts with it; she’s learning how to interact with people. The same goes for her dolls and Power Rangers figures. The dolls, figures, and puppets “listen” to her favorite stories and help her create new ones.
Sensory toys pique the portion of the brain that recognizes and reacts to sensory stimulation. Visual toys flash, light up, exhibit patterns, and change colors. Vestibular toys take a child off the floor or a chair and into space, such as when swings are around, or the child uses a skateboard. Auditory toys stimulate hearing with sounds like bells, whistles, chimes, a metronome, or music. Which toys in your toy box stimulate your senses?
A guy has to eat. Doesn’t he? That is when he’s on a safari just before facing down the meanest lion in Africa. A guy has to take certain foods into outer space with him when he’s an astronaut. Doesn’t a fellow have to have food in his backpack as he’s hunting the beast that ate his whole village?
Girls, your dolls must do lunch before having their nails done, yes? You have to pack a lunch for your dolls to take to work tomorrow morning. Not only that, there’s a slammin’ party happening tonight, and all your dolls will be bringing something to eat. With all this going on, you’d better be sure your stock of food is going to get you through it all.
It’s one of the most basic of human instincts. We learn it from the cradle to the high chair to the nursery school chair and on up. Teaching children about food sets them up in later life to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthily, and avoid disease.
Toys For The Mouth
Bubbles can teach us so many things. They show us all the colors of the rainbow; they teach us about the size; they teach us about floating in the air or on the water and chasing them to pop them builds muscle, especially when children crawl on their stomachs to get the bubbles.
Mouth toys give squirmy babies and toddlers a fidget toy to keep them occupied until they see the doctor. They get the bonus of eating the candy on the fidget toy. Of course, babies know chew toys in the form of teething rings, but later in life, they make great sensory toys. You’ll find a magnificent selection of chew toys for children with special needs.
You might think that only dogs get chew toys, stuffed animals, a special dog toy, tennis ball, or rope toys. Sometimes kids learn from watching the family dog play with his ball, chase the bubbles the kids blow, or even sleeping with his stuffed animal. All of life is a learning experience for children, so fill it with the coolest toys, Mom.
How Many Toys Is Enough?
Some studies show that the fewer toys kids have, the more they focus, the more they engage and show greater creativity, interacting with their toys more imaginatively and for longer at a time. So the answer to that question is to give him five toys instead of fifteen, keeping back the ten for another time.
Do Only Toddlers Need Toys?
Appropriate toys for toddlers are no longer necessary for a pre-schooler. Each age needs to learn different lessons taught by their toys. A child six or seven years old has already learned the development of the younger years. He should be learning things more appropriate to his age. Even teenagers addicted to video games and iPods are learning things appropriate to their ages. It isn’t just toddlers who need toys; it’s all of us.
Should You Care About Child Milestones?
Without a good understanding of child development, it’s difficult for parents and teachers to know when a child is (a) falling behind, (b) can’t grasp the lessons, and/or (c) having trouble interacting. Milestones give us a base from which to recognize our child’s progress, giving the child self-confidence and a sense of growth.
Toys play a critical role in the development of a child. Specific toys are aimed at particular areas of the child’s growth.
Thus, as a parent, you need to choose suitable toys such that your kid develops wholly. The balance between indoor and outdoor toys needs to be checked. I am sure doing this will yield unrivaled results.