Why Children Need to Play with Toys
As a mother and former nanny, I've heard of too many instances in which permanently restricting toys from children was suggested. Either the parents felt the kids were making a mess of them, they were too old for toys, or that toys were unnecessary. While I agree that kids do not need every gadget and gizmo out there, they do need to own some toys. In fact, there are many reasons children need to play with toys and significant research to back up that fact.
History of Toys
It's probably safe to say that no one knows for sure exactly when and where the first toy was invented. They've been around for ages, possibly since the beginning of the human race. No matter the culture or country, most kids can be found playing with some sort of toy. While we can't trace the history of toys altogether, it can be interesting to peek back in time and trace the history of specific toys. IdeaFinder.com has some fun listings to explore from various toys and time periods.
Benefits of Toys
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), playing with toys is beneficial to a child's social, cognitive, physical, and emotional well-being. The same report makes the point that playing with toys is recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as being one of the rights every child has. The Museum of Play considers play a critical part of learning and human development. Playing with toys increases academic success, as well as promotes success once children grow into adults. The Elements of Play can help define play for parents, educators, and scholars.
Which Toys are Best?
Which toys are best will actually depend on each individual child. When choosing the best toys for kids, think of the value of the toy itself. Consider your child's interest in it, how long it will last, what purpose it will serve, and also general safety. Blocks and puzzles can help with problem-solving and other cognitive development. Dolls and other role playing toys can help children with expression and imagination. Paints and other artistic toys help develop creativity. Sports toys, such as bicycles and balls can teach teamwork and coordination. There are a whole host of great toys with many benefits. If the toy passes all of your tests for value, then it's probably one of the best toys for your child. Remember to have a variety of different toys for the most interest and benefit.
Why Toys Should not Be Taken Away Permanently
Taking away toys permanently for the purpose of avoiding messes can hinder the process of teaching a child to clean. How can she learn to do this without anything to clean up? On the contrary, if a child is instead taught organizational skills and given an exact spot for each toy, and a system that must be followed, he or she will learn to put away the toys. Taking away toys because someone feels they are unnecessary is also not a good idea. As long as a child remains interested in playing with toys, he should be allowed to keep them. Even adults can benefit from playing with toys. Limiting or restricting a child from toys can also limit and restrict a child from key life lessons that can only be gained through play.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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