Kids love to play, but doing so is also the primary way in which they learn about the world. Different forms of play and different toys help them learn different skills, developing both body and mind. If you’ve got little ones and want to encourage their development through play, here are our top five toys to help you do just that:
- Toys that encourage the development of imaginary worlds
Toys can encourage different modes of thought and engagement from children, and certain types are likely to fuel imaginative thinking. These are things like dolls houses, Playmobil, Sylvanian Families and so forth – anything that allows them to create a story around different characters and immerse themselves in imaginary worlds. This is great for helping them to develop empathy, too, as they get to practice putting themselves in others’ shoes. Don’t limit yourself to creating an imaginary world through inanimate objects, though – even nature projects like worm farming can provide kids with a new micro-environment to try and understand.
- Musical instruments
An interest in music is a great thing to encourage in children of any age, and giving them musical instruments to play with – children’s play versions in the first instance – is a great way to inspire them. More than that, these kinds of toys also help develop fine motor skills. Think plucking strings or holding a recorder: these activities require hand-eye coordination, which means that playing with them will stand kids in good stead for many different activities.
- Ride on toys
If you have fine motor skills covered with musical instruments, try encouraging gross motor skills with ride on toys. Trucks, rocking horses, wagons and tricycles are all great for kids who need practice balancing, walking confidently and coordinating their upper and lower limbs.
- Creative materials
All parents want to encourage a creative streak in their children, and by supplying little ones with art materials you can do just that. This will get their creative juices flowing and could spark off a lifelong interest in the arts. It’s also a great way for kids to express themselves, so try this activity if you think your little one needs to blow off a bit of steam.
- Nesting games
Nesting games are the kinds of activities involving objects which fit inside each other – Russian dolls, different size boxes and brightly coloured cups are good examples. These are great for younger kids as – like musical instruments – they can help develop fine motor skills. They also, however, encourage brain development, as they require kids to think logically and exercise problem solving skills that they will certainly find useful in later life.
For more details on some of these projects click here.
Written by guest writer: Ame Rukwongsa