Why traditional toys are important for a child’s development

When we look back on our own childhoods, the parts that we tend to remember are not the bits that we spent jotting down lines off of the blackboard, but the slithers of memory in which we were having fun.

Though we probably don’t remember learning at the time, the truth is that having fun is one of the most important aspects of learning for a child. Not only does it ensure learning, but at the same time, it also enhances it.

In an article on the Washington Post, Susan Slade, Director of Healthy School Communities says that:

“The human brain and body respond positively to laughter with the release of endorphin, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine, and with increased breathing volume (more oxygen).

“When a lesson starts with humour, there is more alerting, and the subsequent information is attached to the positive emotional event as an event or flashbulb memory.”

Of course, what Susan is talking about here is based on an age where children probably do not need the use of a toy to help them learn.

It is important to remember however, that the equation of fun plus learning, will always be the same; no matter the age of the child, teenager or adult.

It could be said then, that playtime is imperative in a child’s learning process. Though children are becoming increasingly absorbed in electronic gadgets and toys as the years pass (the Daily Mail reported that this change occurs around the age of seven), focus must still be paid to traditional playtime.

The simple power of role play

One of the most important and most popular forms of play is of course role play. Although computer games do have their own type of role play (RPG), they do not offer anywhere near the creative possibilities of physical role play which can help in many ways including:

·        The practice of verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

·        The ability of being able to empathise better with their peers in a range of situations as provided by role play.

·        The experimentation with different roles in life and the ability to experience the points of view of other people during a range of conflicts.

What toys provide role play?

Although electronic games can provide one form of role play, as already discussed, physical toys offer a whole host of situations and platforms in that children can experiment with as they grow.

If a child were to play with a train for example, they would be able to play and experience life as a commuter, a platform manager, and if it involves Thomas the Tank, the actual train itself. Train sets make perfect play for children wanting to enjoy the world of locomotion.

Are electronic games bad?

If we take games played on iPads or mobile phones for example, they do actually offer a great insight into technology and reports have even shown that children around the age of nine are now more advanced in their knowledge of electronics than older generations.

With that in mind however, traditional toys, some of which have been enjoyed by children for thousands of years, have been developed and improved over great lengths of time with the sole purpose of helping children develop and that if anything, is not to be discounted.Electronic games of all sorts play there part in children’s development but nothing can substitute toys that develop imaginative play whilst also improving fine motor skills.