Learning Through Play: Why Educational Toys Are Essential For Your Children
It’s common knowledge these days that toys are not just playthings anymore. No longer are they there purely to keep our children quiet in the supermarket, or to be used as bargaining chips mid-tantrum (although we’ve all been there, we totally understand).
These essentials have been found to play an important role in a child's physical and mental development. Mikki & Me Kids encourages you to incorporate educational tidbits into your child’s life as soon as possible, as they are an excellent way to stimulate intelligence, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination for your little ones.
Here we spill the beans on the intellectual benefits different toys have on our children as they grow to school age and beyond.
Different Ages, Toys and Milestones
Think about your child and the toys they had when they were tiny. Now, cast your mind to how those products looked, felt and what they did – is there an obvious?
Educational toys provided to babies are there to stimulate their brains from the beginning, and with things like colours, sounds, textures and shapes for them to take in, they’re always processing new information that is crucial for development.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at preschool ages and the types of products most beneficial to this demographic.
0 – 12 months
In the first six months of life, babies can already recognise colours, voices and sounds. Their language progresses and they begin to identify faces and emotions. We recommend play mats and gyms, nesting toys, rattles and other handheld toys of various textures (rubber rings, soft animals) to promote touch, sight, hearing, and tummy time.
1 – 2 years
By the age of one, bub is now copying sounds and actions. They respond to music and can accomplish simple goals like crawling to a spot or seeking something out. They can now recognise names and basic commands, and may even begin repeating sounds like ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.
Educational products – such as animal pictures, basic puzzles and toy dolls – support recognition and repetition, which serves to stimulate brainpower, problem-solving and planning skills.
At age two, they begin pointing, feeding themselves and eventually taking steps. Strollers, water, sand and other outside play activities stimulate sensation and promote hygiene, and helps the child refine their gross-motor and coordination skills.
3 – 5 years
By age three, your toddler can stack boxes, clip blocks together, and may even begin to play alone. They gain vocabulary and can follow simple direction.
This category includes soft books, play dough, easels, paints and digging toys that support learning, creativity and self-regulation. This is particularly the case when play is used to calm the child when they recognise they may need it.
At age four and up, your child is climbing, can balance themselves, perform basic counting, and throw and catch.
Educational toys – such as number and alphabet blocks, footballs, tricycles, small trampolines and climbing gyms – support equilibrium, hand-eye coordination and physical education. In turn, these skills prepare them for school.Side Note: It’s important to keep in mind that each child is different, and their educational needs should be assessed regularly by your paediatrician. For more information and to see our recommendations on educational toys, feel free to get in touch.