In this article, I will explain what an educational toy is, what it is not and what they are intended for. I want to highlight the myths about educational toys. Just because they are marketed as educational doesn’t necessary mean that they are just that. In reality, there are big companies behind that are rather more interested in cropping toys than in actually helping the children in their development.
I also write about what you as a parent or another adult in the children’s vicinity should think about when it is time to buy toys as Christmas presents and birthday gifts. I think it doesn’t hurt to pay a little attention to both the cost and the impact the toy could have on the child’s actual learning and development, right?
The idea behind what is called educational toys is that it is designed for children, intended for play and the intention is that they should stimulate learning in some aspect. Often, the toys are simplified miniature models of things used by adults in everyday life.
Children learn constantly about the outside world and many of the things they come into contact with are not toys that have been specifically developed for them to play with, such as branches and stones.
Although children play with material from nature, it is not considered to be educational toys because of two reasons: 1 – it is material from nature and 2 – it has not had any educational purpose during the design and development phase.
The difference lies in the perception of the toy’s intention and value. The purpose of educational toys is to support learning. The idea is that the educational toy should instruct and support intellectual, emotional and physical development.
An educational toy is expected to help the child develop any specific skill. At present, the idea behind more and more toys is being developed that they should in some way support the child’s learning and development.
–>Click here if you want to read another of my posts about children’s learning and development: Why kids ask why?<–
There is research that supports the theory that learning through play is important as it helps the children during their development.
Children who play with real and thoughtful educational toys, combined with the interaction of their parents and other adults, simply develop the child’s skills better. Play is definitely the best and most natural way for children to learn. Therefore, it is important to invest in educational toys, not just as a parent, but also for society as a whole.
As I mentioned just now, it is not enough just to give the child an educational toy in order for it to have the desired effect.
The most important thing is that you as a parent or other adult are with the child and explore together. As an adult you sometimes know why things are in a certain way and can explain the basics to the child, so that some things suddenly become “self-evident” and the child gets an “aha” experience.
If you as an adult don’t know the answer, then there are many search engines today where you quickly find more information and explanations.
Children love toys. I guess there is not one parent who hesitates about it. If you bring a child into a toy store, the child will in all likelihood find one or some toys it cannot live without. 😉
Actually, toys have a deeper meaning than just being fun for children. The very best toys start the child’s various senses, light their creativity and imagination and encourage interaction with other people.
There is hardly any better way for children to learn and create new experiences than through play.
If your child has been playing with educational toys together with you and other adults from an early age, the research shows that these children have it easier at school when they grow up.
–>Click here if you want to read my review of one educational toy: Lego Technic 42053 Volvo ew160e<–
Don’t go on the myth to buy any “educational” toy. All toys marketed as “learning” need not be that at all. An example of this is the tablet.
At present, the tablet at home is most likely used by most families more than dolls and action figures, crafts, construction toys, game consoles, puzzles and board games. The research shows that even really young children under the age of three play with tablets and smartphones almost daily.
Why is that? The studies made indicate that the parents believe that tablets and smartphones are pedagogical since they are marketed like that. Just because the child plays with something interactive does not mean that it is educational. Simply pushing buttons and scrolling without any reflection can even get in the way of the potential to learn.
In reality, many of the toys that are marketed as pedagogical are very limited unless the parents interact and explain the interlinked skills and concepts.
As a parent, it is important to be critical and realize that many of the toys are start-linked to brands that primarily want to sell their goods with negligible intentions regarding learning and educational value.
Every Christmas or other commercial celebration, a busy section of “must have” toys is pitched by the companies. If your child has any of these products on their wish, it can be a great advantage to read reader comments and assessments to see if it is worth putting the money on that particular item.
Before a purchase, be sure to think about whether the toy is appropriate with regard to the child’s age and whether it can be used in any way to stimulate the child’s creativity.
The likelihood that your child’s interest is held up for a long time is much higher if it can succeed in awakening the child’s creativity.
There is nothing more boring for a parent to spend money on a toy where it turns out that the child prefers to play with the packaging, or that the child only plays one or a couple of days with the toy and then put it on the shelf and forget it for good.
–>Click here if you want to read another of my posts about children’s learning and development: Explorers for life<–
The best part is when the toy that is the highest on the child’s wish list is affordable and you experience it as a sensible purchase.
It is a great feeling for each parent to see the child’s joy when something they want is found among the Christmas presents or birthday presents.
It is an advantage to choose to buy toys and games that also encourage creativity, learning and physical activity in combination with having fun. This type of toy has a tendency to be used over and over again. This type of toy plants a seed of curiosity in the child’s mind that it benefits from the rest of life.
Do you have your own experiences with educational toys? Then write a message below and I will be happy to discuss it!