When we think of toys, we frequently think of them with a disdainful attitude. We don’t do it on purpose or even consciously, but it’s likely a result of what society has instilled in us for a long time: that a toy is simply a toy, a diversion, and of little value after a certain age.
Toys’ Importance in a Child’s Development
Toys, on the other hand, are recognized by scientists and educators as much more. Toys are more than just fun and amusement. They may also help with learning and growth. In fact, Nobel Laureate and theoretical physicist Richard Feynman once ascribed his inventiveness to benefits of creative play.
“How so?” you might wonder. To begin with, when toddlers play with toys, they participate in sensory learning as they use their hands to investigate the model, refining their physical dexterity. Playing with simple toys can help with cognitive development.
Forming image puzzles, for example, necessitates problem-solving, while maintaining a Jenga game necessitates risk-taking, and a fun Nerf shoot-out necessitates teamwork and collaboration.
Young learners must use their creativity when playing with building blocks in order to construct various structures such as a fortress or a fire truck using the same set of pieces. These are just a few instances of how we often overlook the genuine value of toys.
The project team at Science Centre Singapore has been hard at work managing the Sony Creative Science Awards, an annual toy-making competition for primary school kids, over the last several months.The tournament is in its 23rd year, and each year the competitors who are six to thirteen years old come up with innovative designs.
It’s amazing how these young minds can conjure up STEM-based inventions that even adults might not think of, from a balancing board game to a magnetic electro machine inspired by claw cranes and even an educational device designed to teach fellow children how to protect themselves against the COVID-19 virus. And it’s all because kids enjoy playing with toys and want to make one of their own.
The ability to think critically and creatively is certainly not restricted to a small set of brilliant people. It may be nurtured from a young age, and the greatest place to begin is at home.
Encouragement of Purposeful Play at Home
As parents, we might become preoccupied with the number of words our child can spell or whether or not they have finished their schoolwork, obstructing their fun. This isn’t to argue that a reversible schedule with a disproportionate play-to-study ratio should be encouraged.
Rather, as with everything else in life, the key is to strike a balance and commit to taking a more active role in our least favourite of the two activities — playing. While there is no set formula for the ‘proper’ way to play or the ‘best’ toys to choose, there are a few things we can do to make those hours more meaningful and helpful for our children. Seeing your children put their imaginations to work and producing something great will be a rewarding experience for you as a parent.