Welcome summer! With school breaks, summer vacations, and a little extra sunshine from morning ‘til night, now is the perfect time to enjoy even more playtime. But with all of the fun outdoors, one of the best places to play and learn, some parents wonder whether we need toys at all?
According to the Child Development Institute and our educational expert and preschool certified lead teacher, Sudha Nistala, the answer is yes. Playing with toys and having one-on-one educational playtime with your little ones are key factors in your child’s development.
"Toys are more than just fun and games for kids," according to the Child Development Institute. "The best toys engage a child’s senses, spark their imaginations and encourage them to interact with others."
While getting outside and exploring the world is something our future leaders won’t ever get enough of, there are still benefits of having toys.
Expands Intellectual Curiosity
“Children construct knowledge as a result of reflecting on their experiences. As they experiment with blocks, for instance, they observe the results of trying to stack, balance, and bridge structures, “ says Nistala. “As they interact with toys, children observe the results of various approaches.”
The more opportunities and various ways a child can learn something, like the concept of gravity, the more expansive their knowledge of the concept becomes. For example, seeing leaves falling from trees outside, jumping from a play structure, and seeing a stack of blocks collapse when knocked over are all keys ways a child can test his or her theories about the world around them. So, having toys and opportunities to play outside in conjunction with one another helps facilitate learning and encourages little minds to push boundaries of their understanding.
Breeds Social Understanding
Playing with toys also enables children to test and experience social norms and behaviors – particularly when it comes to resolving conflict, sharing and imaginary play.
“Toys provide children a way to construct their theories of how social interactions work using the trial and error analysis,” said Nistala. “Reflecting on the results of their social overtures can help children figure out how to play with others successfully and how to make friends.”
Engaging in playdates where children are both encouraged to take turns with various toys or play together with more social toys like a game, puzzle or stacking blocks are great ways to encourage social skills that will make their life and school transitions better for everyone. Like we always say, toys are not just for fun, but the more children play with them, the more they learn, and ultimately, the more fun they have!