Parents normally love to spend money on children’s toys, particularly those that stimulate the brain and promote intellectual development. Eight out of ten mothers would prefer to buy an educational book or toy for her child than anything that will hone a child’s motor skills. This phenomenon can be attributed to the numerous marketing strategies of infant formula and children’s toys focusing on brain development. Little do parents know that a child’s impressive growth in his motor skills also equates to good brain development.
Preschool and school-age children are at innately curious and tends to explore almost everything they can lay their hands on. This is but a normal characteristic of a growing child. At this age, they already have a considerable amount of vocabulary and have knowledge of quite a number of places, people and objects. For example, a simple stapler to an adult is a tool for keeping a number of paper together. To a child within the mentioned age group, he or she would need to use it first on a couple of pages of paper to appreciate its function. It helps them to understand that a stapler is attributed to a paper.
The same principle should be applied in choosing appropriate toys with this age group. Toys were not invented to develop only one aspect of human growth. In fact, toys that can be disassembled and then put together are the best for developing a child’s brain while giving due consideration for his motor skills. The process of disassembling and putting together a puzzle toy is undertaken by the brain, while the hand-eye-finger coordination represents the motor skills.
Child psychologists and pediatricians agree that any toy manufactured for the purpose of intellectual stimulation and development of a child’s motor skills will prove useless without putting input for the affective aspect. The term affective refers to the emotional facet of a human being’s maturation.
Have you tried taking note of the developmental tasks of children? Children who spend more time alone with toys and minimal human interaction will either grow to be too talkative in the desire for human contact or less interactive as a result of spending more time playing alone.
Whether toys were labeled as top of the line, or built with the most advanced technology or the simple yet highly beneficial washer toss game, all of these will not generate the expected results without human interaction. A simple washer game board is no fun without a person to play with. The same with dolls, interactive video games and other toys. Interactive video games are better appreciated when explained by another person.
Learning and development goes hand in hand and is better facilitated when children derives enjoyment from the activity. This principle is called thematic approach and is being utilized by a number of schools and learning center for young children. As such, toys should be chosen based on the functions they serve: promote knowledge, skills and values through the facilitation of parents, mentors and caregivers, taking note of the degree of fun they will derive from it. Remember, more fun with you equates to a child’s faster learning and development.