6 March 2012
The Effect of Toys on Child Development
The types of toys children play with can affect how they develop. Toys can help or hinder a child’s development in intelligence, social skills and personality. Certain characteristics may be genetically entwined in a human being, but some characteristics and behaviors can be learned, from parents, surroundings, and the toys with which a youngster plays. Elise Moore, author of “How Do Toys Aid Development”, stated “if play is the work of the child, toys are the child’s tools” (Moore, 2).
Children develop in many ways including through physical activity, mental activity and interaction with others (Roode, 1). According to a January 2007 clinical report in the journal “Pediatrics,” “play contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and adolescents (Moore, 1). The free time while children play is not only shortened due to our society’s rush lifestyle and time schedules, but the importance of playtime is often neglected. Play time can help children figure out how things work, develop new ideas, encourage the development of muscle and motor control, use their minds, and learn to communicate with others (Moore, 2). Different types of learning exist in order to encourage development in the child. One family oriented website, Family Education, “suggests numerous types of learning that children can acquire from different toys”: Art materials foster creativity and appreciation of beauty. Hardwood blocks teach children about geometry, shapes, balance and of course gravity when the towers come crashing down. Experimental materials like sand, water and clay offer the child control as she shapes and distributes the materials, and appeals to her senses. Outdoor play equipment builds muscles and confidence that the child can meet physical challenges. Pretend play with dolls and stuffed animals is not only imaginative but also allows the child to try out new roles and behaviors (qtd. in Moore, 2).
During their first year, a child is constantly learning what their body can do through their movements which, over time, become more refined as their fine motor skills increase (Roode, 1). Playing that encourages building, stacking, pulling, kicking and throwing are especially helpful in this development area (Roode, 1). Physical development is one of the most praised developments by parents. It is very exciting when a child sits up, crawls, stands up, and walks for the first time. It sometimes slips a new parent’s mind that their child is able to do these things because of their physical development, encouraged by playing with productive toys. According to the website of the Child Development Institute, seventy-five percent of brain development occurs after birth, making the activities children engage in a heavy influence to stimulate the patterns of connections made between nerve cells (qtd. in Moore, 2). This crucial time is seen by some as play time but isn’t it actually learning time? Children love to play, which means they love to learn! Playing with toys isn’t as juvenile and simple as it initially looks. Toys enable children to figure out how things work, learn new ideas, develop muscle control and strength, use their imaginations to stimulate brain development, solve problems, and learn how to play and work with others, says the Child Development Institute (qtd. in Moore, 2).
Toys should be productive. Construction blocks not only help develop hand-eye coordination but allow the child to use their creativity and imagination to construct buildings and settings for adventure. Low-structure toys like Play Doh inspire richer imaginative play than high-structure toys such as Barbies, GI Joes and other dolls (Moore, 2). Dynamic toys help ensure proper development in the child. A dynamic toy is classified as a toy that enables movement and has complex movement (Abdulaeva, 2). Toys such as push cars,...
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