Toys for early development

Toys for Early Development: Myth or Science

Learning through play is an essential part of a child’s cognitive and physical development. Having an adequate amount of daily playtime in the early years of a child’s life can have tremendous long-term benefits. Educational toys help stimulate a child’s creativity, build self-confidence and improve fine motor skills. There are many educational toys on the market which are designed for children of all ages, some starting from even a month old. Early childhood education methods have also transformed a lot throughout the years. For example, integrating technology into learning has now become a necessary tool in many educational platforms. But are early educational toys beneficial for children? Read on to find out more.

The importance of early education

Early childhood is the period between birth to around 8 years of age, wherein a child’s brain is highly sensitive to the environment around them. This period of remarkable growth requires a specialised educational approach to ensure that children learn the key skills that they will require later on in life. In a child’s early years, they are learning to discover and understand themselves better. Their minds expand and absorb all that is around them. Therefore, having the correct early educational tools will ensure they reach their full potential.

The rise of educational toys

Toys have always held a central space in the lives of children as they allow kids to explore new ways of thinking, learn valuable skills via play, and most importantly, have fun. In recent years, there has been an increase in the marketing and popularity of educational toys for children. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 also played a huge role in boosting demand for educational toys. Due to the lockdown, children spent more time at home. This had parents and caregivers looking for ways to keep their children occupied. Smartphones, tablets and various other forms of learning toys have shown an increase in popularity and sales.

Are educational toys necessary?

Nicola Yelland, professor of education at Australia’s Victoria University, wrote in the Conversation, “Very few toys, touch-screen or otherwise, that are marketed as educational are backed up by anything other than a commercial claim.”  She explains further “In reality, the toys are expensive, and often limited in scope unless parents interact and teach their children the associated skills and concepts. In many instances, they are tied to franchises (Disney, Pixar) that want to promote their items with negligible concerns about learning or educational value.”

While educational toys can be helpful for early minds, what children require most is meaningful interactions with parents or caregivers. Any toy can become beneficial if a parent or caregiver sits with the child and joins in on the fun. The bottom line is that what makes a toy educational is the interaction with a parent.

Early childhood development is greatly influenced by what parents believe is best for their children. Interacting with skilled educators who can help and support parents to facilitate the best methods for early childhood development is very beneficial. Get in touch with TEEC for more info on early childhood education.