Educational toys for toddlers, what’s the big deal? Toys are a great way to educate children, combining fun with educational purposes. Some toys are specially designed as educational toys, while others may just have an incidental educational value. Educational toys are teaching children useful skills and concepts about the world around them.
Some may think that any toy would have an educational value because children are constantly interacting with them and learning from playing with them. In a way, that is also true. The difference is that the educational toys are created with the main goal to educate children. They can instruct children and help in their physical, intellectual and emotional development. An educational toy will develop a particular skill or will teach children about a particular subject. The more interactive the toy will be, the more educational effects can be achieved.
Learning toys are not a new concept. They have been around for a long time. The first set of toys were created in the seventeenth century. The novelty stays only in the term “educational toys”, which is used since the 1960s. The first learning toys for boys were the wooden blocks designed to teach them construction skills. For girls the first educational toys were the dollhouses aimed to teach them homemaking skills. In the late 1700s teaching toys started to include jigsaw puzzles and card games.
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In the 21th century the educational toys come in a much large variety. They are designed to combine playing with learning positive behavior, numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. They can greatly extend the imagination and creativity of children. Nowadays the parents and educators are more interested on the development needs of children and the toy manufacturers strive to adapt to this market. More and more toys are designed for children education. Educational toys encourage development in children within different age groups. They enhance physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development.
For the children of preschool age, for example, the wooden blocks are a good start for teaching basic principles of science, develop hand eye coordination and teach patience. For children in elementary school puzzle games or Lego toys help them understand spatial relationships. Construction sets that include motors and other moving parts help children to understand more complex principles and concepts. An educational toy has increased value if it is appropriate to the age of the child using it.
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Our society is changing and the educational toys are changing too, following the developments of the society. PC educational games are developed to assist the development of toddlers and kids and increase their cognitive, motor, social and emotional skills. Fun PC game characters are interacting with the child, playing, singing, and teaching useful subjects. They combine fun and education in a creative way. PC educational games can teach children physics, chemistry, multiplication, new vocabulary words and even a foreign language.
An educational toy can’t always have a maximum influence in the development of the children if they are left to play alone. Most of the times children can expand their creativity faster if the parents are involving in their playtime with the educational toys. From the interaction between the child and the parent the educational benefits of the toy are enhanced and maximized.
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It is important to choose any educational toys taking in consideration the appropriate age group of the children. Most of the toys have printed on the packaging the age limits. A toy which is below the child’s age or level of development may make the child bored and would not have any educational benefits because is unchallenging. On the other side, a toy that is above child’s age or level of development will make him anxious and frustrated. The purpose of the educational toys is to focus on the development of skills appropriate with the children’s age group. They need to master first their current stage of intellectual development, before they can move to the next stage.
Children have a natural instinct to learn new things. They are like a sponge, ready to absorb any new information. This is why the educational toys, through the daily interaction between children and toys, can help children learning new subjects and developing new skills. The learning ability of children and their natural desire to play should be used wisely by giving them the educational toys geared for their age group.