The Most Appropriate Educational Toys for Your Children
By Adwina D. Jackson
Children learn about the world through toys. Different toys fulfill
different developmental and educational purposes, and understanding
this variety and the needs of your child will help you in selecting
the most appropriate toys for your child.
Here are some significant needs of children that can be fulfilled by
the right kind of toys:
Creative development: Lewis Carroll’s Alice captured the
essence of childhood with her eager phrase: "Let's pretend..." Watch
how many things your child can do with an empty cardboard box. Other
examples: Clay, paint, dolls, crayons, play dough.
Intellectual development: Just pulling a simple wagon, your
child is learning about the relationship between force and velocity.
Other examples are books, miniature ovens, bicycles and science
Physical development: Through toys and games, children
develop their strength, motor skills, hand-eye coordination and
muscle control. Toys for this are balls, bikes, blocks, shovels, and
all outdoor games.
Sensory development: Children learn about textures, smells,
colors and sounds through toys. The toys for this are musical
instruments, clay, blocks, puzzles.
Social development: Through toys, children learn about each
other and about friendship. They learn how to get along with others,
and the mechanics of personal relationships. What happens when your
child builds a sandcastle together with a friend? What happens when
your child refuses to share a toy? Board games, dolls and puzzles
are some toys that can help your child’s social development.
Personality development: Games and toys build confidence and
self-esteem in children, and help them learn about themselves
through their likes and dislikes. Solving a puzzle, building a house
with blocks, riding a bike -- all these exercises help your child
feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
The best toys for your child are the ones that provide an enriching
learning experience in a fun way and are helpful in the development
of basic skills of your child. It is important that you think deeply
before buying a toy for your child and evaluate what learning
experience your child will have while playing with that toy.
With time, your child will learn how to take responsibility for her
choices, actions, and belongings. The following are some guidelines
with which you can help your child become responsible without
compromising on her safety:
• Talk to your child about proper care and storage of toys. Fix a
place of storage and do not allow toys to be left on the floor or
outside the house.
• If there is more than one child, separate their toys to make sure
that the younger ones may not play with toys appropriate for older
children. Explain this, and related safety hazards, to the older
• Participate in your child’s play and set good examples of safe
play. After playtime, show them how to put the toys away safely, and
slowly allow your child to take responsibility for the toys.
• Teach your child to recognize unsafe toys and safety hazards.
Check their toys (especially electric ones) regularly for damage,
and urge them to let you know if a toy breaks or seems unsafe.
Appropriate and Allowable Toys for Children
In this chapter, we will discuss the skills and needs of children at
different ages, and accordingly choose safe and appropriate toys for
each age group.
3 to 4 years
During this time, children use their imagination to imitate adult
activity, and participate actively in physical games. Their
knowledge of safety hazards and self-defense also increases.
Appropriate toys: Puppets, farm and community play sets like tea
sets, climbing structures, miniature ovens, toy telephones, simple
board games, tricycles, boxes, dolls and stuffed animals, water play
toys, puzzles, balls, simple musical instruments etc.
4 to 6 years
At this age, children learn about social skills and cooperation by
participating in preschool group games. Their physical coordination
develops, and the foundation of printing and writing is also laid at
Appropriate toys: Transportation vehicles of all types like bicycles
with helmets and training wheels toys, drop boxes, sleds, creative
materials, painting material, books and records, stencils, puzzles,
balls, action figures, dress-up clothes, housekeeping props,
dollhouses, character toys, simple construction toys etc.
6 to 9 years
Children learn about getting along with others, and about the adult
world of sports, games, and careers. At this stage, children develop
their intellectual and social interests and make strong friendships,
likes and dislikes.
Appropriate toys: Board games, marbles, jacks, puppets, doll
equipment and accessories, craft kits, construction toys, complex
puzzles, jump ropes, art material of all kinds, roller and ice
9 to 12 years
Preteens become active in team play and learn how to handle detailed
projects in arts and science. They learn to prioritize their
interests and give more time to select hobbies. They also begin to
operate video games and computers.
Appropriate toys: Skates, skateboards, science kits, craft kids,
tested and approved electric toys, electric trains (UL approved),
construction sets, science kits, craft kits, costumes, larger
bicycles prop boxes, puppets, fashion and career dolls, doll house
and furniture, musical instruments, books of specific interest, work
bench with real tools etc.
It is important to remember that children are different and have
individual characteristics and interests. Only you can know your
child’s specific interests and abilities at the different stages of
their development, by supervising and participating in their play.
Adwina D. Jackson has a deep concern on parenting. Get her inspirational guides
about Educational Toys at
http://insparenting.com/guides/educational-toys/ Also, grasp her other
motivational parenting tips at http://insparenting.com, a worth-to-visit daily updated blog.