Toys: Learning Made Fun

One of the most fun things to do as a child was to play with a wooden toy that consisted of a mallet and colored pegs. The toy helped me develop my motor skills as I drove each peg in with the mallet, and it also helped my mom teach me my colors. Now that I’m older, I still play with toys–they’re just usually more complicated than the mallet and peg game. That’s why I wanted to briefly talk about the benefits and potential negative outcomes that can result from childrens’ toys and games.

There’s a lot of money to be made in toys, games, and educational instruments to help a child learn more effectively. Parents usually ask themselves what toys their child should use. What they should be asking is what will be the most beneficial and realistic for my child’s well being. In a physical sense, children can learn how to control their motor skills through exercise. According to an internet article, a great example for a physical learning toy is the “Corn Popper.” (The toy that looks like a vacuum that has multiple colored balls inside that pop as you push it.) The child not only gets the much needed exercise (the parent also gets exercise) but also can learn the relationship between cause and effect.

Games and puzzles are also a great toy for a child to grow. Most games and puzzles require mental exertion and involvement with others. They reflect social, religious, economic, and artistic qualities that come from each respected culture.

Puzzles are another great tool for cognitive development. Lots of problem solving goes into puzzles and they help child cope with making mistakes and trying again. A great thing with puzzles is that if they seem a bit difficult for a young child to decipher, another more experienced person such as a caregiver can aid in the task. Scaffolding takes place and a child can succeed at the task as well as build their interactions with the caregiver.

One must be cautious when purchasing or letting their little one play with a toy. Some toys can actually leave long-lasting negative effects on a child. For example, violent toys can leave a child open to use the knowledge gained from a violent video game or something like a toy gun. Playing with a toy gun isn’t necessarily going to turn them into a gun wielding maniac, but they tend to make a child more aggressive. Of course, by monitoring a child’s play you can help them understand that things like that are serious and that things of that matter shouldn’t be taken lightly. I played with toy weapons, such as a bow that shot suction cup tipped arrows, guns, and rubber knives. When I played with these things my parents always told my that even though it was make believe and couldn’t fire any projectiles, I was never to point a toy gun at a person. This helped me learn that guns, whether fake or real, were a very serious matter. This later helped me become a someone who respected firearms and how to use them in an orderly matter.

Again, I’m not advocating anyone to allow or forbid their children to play with violent toys. It’s up to a parent on how to raise their child. However, I will go as far as to say that parents should steer their young children clear of things like Grand Theft Auto or violent television like Dexter. This sort of age-inappropriate entertainment could probably really mess up a kid.

Hands-on experience is a great way for a kid to learn, and what’s more hands-on than conventional toys. Games and toys help us in several ways, socially, physically, mentally, culturally children are able to grow. Really you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money in order for your child to grow. Interaction with a child and letting them act naturally as they play is the key.

-James Frost


~ by kersey3 on November 1, 2009.

One Response to “Toys: Learning Made Fun”

  1. I enjoyed your post James. Toys do play a big part in child’s development. It’s true that toys can have negative or positive effects. It reminded me of a time I was helping my niece put a new puzzle together. We have old ones she could do easily and this one was a little harder. She used strategies learned from previous experience to rotate pieces and match colors and I suggested different spots and when she accomplished it she was so satisfied.

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