Why Are Educational Toys Important for Kids? How Learning Toys Foster Physical, Cognitive, & Emotional Skills
Considering how much time our kids spend playing with their toys, it’s only natural to wonder: can toys be educational? Yep! Educational toys are essential to our kids’ learning and development!
While all sorts of toys can benefit our children in different ways, learning toys are specially designed to positively impact various areas of our kids’ development.
What are educational toys used for exactly? They are fun, stimulating ways to educate your kids while they engage in play! Think of play as a chance for kids to put what they’re learning into real-time practice. Learning toys create opportunities to develop a new skill and put it into action at that very moment!
As parents, we want to instill in our kids the skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Keep reading to learn why toys are important vessels for letting their imagination and curiosity lead the way through fun-filled learning experiences!
Studies suggest that play supports every part of development for growing kids. It provides the building blocks of every skill they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
Through play, kids use their imaginations, explore their curiosity and creative expression, and put their decision-making abilities to use in ways that foster multifaceted growth — all while having a blast!
Educational toys: Structured vs. Unstructured Play
Learning toys offer kids an unstructured, limitless approach to play.
Most educational games and toys are open-ended. This means the play is unstructured; there’s no winning or losing. Kids can also play them in different ways all the time, giving them more space for creativity and freedom.
On the other hand, traditional toys like action figures or games with set rules and outcomes tend to be more close-ended. They have a specific end goal in mind. However, that doesn’t make them less worthy of our kids’ attention! On the contrary, they give kids a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
There’s room for both styles of play in the playroom!
So, how effective are educational toys for learning and development? Let’s find out!
The open-ended play theory for most educational toys helps our kids thrive in their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social growth.
Maria Montessori, the founder of Montessori teaching, pioneered an entire teaching methodology based on the philosophy that children learn best from doing. Evidence suggests that this approach does translate to long-term benefits. So why not apply that same premise to toys?
To better understand the importance of toys in child development, let’s dig deeper into how educational toys help foster these fundamental skills through the art of play!
So how do toys help physical development in kids? While most kids have smooth, strong motor skills during middle childhood, their coordination, balance, endurance, and physical abilities vary. This developmental stage is a time to master these skills, and learning toys can support them in doing so!
For instance, let’s say you make a game out of gardening with your kids. On top of its therapeutic benefits, gardening offers kids an array of opportunities to learn and be physically productive. Through digging, planting, composting, and other tasks, they master their motor skills while developing other learning skills related to nature and science.
Now, how do toys help children's cognitive development? In all kinds of ways! Educational toys are designed to encourage children to go where their curiosity and creativity lead them. This fosters their cognition by increasing motivation, divergent thinking, and reasoning skills. This type of play also keeps them interested and engaged for longer. That’s a win/win for our kids and us parents!
Let’s look at building sets as an example of how educational toys foster cognitive skills. Magnetic building toys, like Squaregles’ Warmup Set, nurture our kids’ creativity and development.
Through building structures and stories for their Squaregles’ Oggs characters, kids stay engaged for hours in fun play that helps develop their STEAM skills! In other words, these magnetic toys combine science, technology, engineering, arts, and math in one dynamic, engrossing style of play!
Emotional and Social Skills
We understand how educational toys can aid our kids’ physical and cognitive evolution, but how can toys help emotional and social development?
More likely than not, you’ve used the phrase “sharing is caring” once or twice to encourage friendly collaboration between kids. While it may have taught them courtesy, sharing is another way educational games and toys help foster your child’s social and emotional skills.
Through sharing and playing with other kids and even us parents, children learn to make friendships, play collectively, take turns, negotiate, and cope with disappointments (like losing a turn or striking out in a ball game). More importantly, sharing helps them understand fairness and compromise.
We know that play is an exciting time for your kids to tap into an engaging flow, but it’s also about much more! It can be a stimulating opportunity to enrich our children’s minds, bodies, and lives in immeasurable ways. Their happiness and fulfillment in life are shaped by the foundations that we parents lay for them. Why not fortify their fundamental skills with educational toys that provide as much enrichment as they do fun?
After all, to quote Maria Montessori, “Play is the work of children.”
Ready to let their imaginations run wild while they learn? Shop educational magnetic toys from Squaregles today!