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  • Author:Shirley
  • Source:Original
  • Release on:2014-07-14


Children often talk more easily to one another over toys. Playing with toys in a group helps children discover how others think and feel and what brings approval or disapproval. They learn what happens when they share the truck they are playing with or when they refuse to share and the truck is taken from them.

Along with building self-esteem, toys can be the basis for friendships. Toys like teeter-totters only work when children cooperate. Projects like building sand castles go faster with friends.

With toys, children can use energy and discover emotions. Children have lots of energy. It may not be okay for them to use their energy to jump on the bed, but it is almost always okay for them to use it to ride a trick or bike. Toys also are useful as a way to deal with working through emotional conflict or anger. Splashing water or pounding play dough can help children release tension.

Children need to have direct experience with the world in order to make sense of and learn about it. Have you ever thought about all the things children learn after they are born? They learn how to talk, sit up, walk, and run. They learn what things are and how they work. They learn about people and the world. They learn all of these things by playing with toys.

For example, babies are not born knowing about gravity. They do not know that anything dropped will fall to the floor. They learn this, by playing with toys. Infants may accidentally let go of a rattle and notice that it falls to the floor. When you give it back, they may deliberately drop it to see if it falls again. Sure enough, it hits the floor! They enjoy the game "drop the toy" for as long as you are willing to play. Soon everything in their grasp becomes a toy for dropping - bottles, spoons, balls, and even bowls of food. They practice this "experiment" and play this game with everything they touch. They understand about gravity because they have actually experienced it with their toys.

Toys are important for other reasons, too. Children exercise their muscles with toys. Next time you see children rocking horses or riding bikes, notice the muscles they are using.

Think of the coordination and balance they practice when they climb to the top of the jungle gym or the muscle control they develop when they put one more block on the tower without it falling down. All these necessary skills are developed easily through toys.

Toys also invite children to create and use their imaginations. Give an empty cardboard box to a child and watch all the things it becomes - a train, house, or cage at the zoo. Children start many play times with "Let's pretend..." and toys encourage this.

Children gain self-confidence as they play with toys. As children master their toys - as they finish a puzzle, ride a trick, or blow a bubble - they develop a sense of power. They say, "I can do this. Look at me." As a caregiver, you often may find children want to show you what they can do with their toys. It is important to recognize their accomplishments. When an adult pays attention to children's play, they feel worthwhile and gain self-confidence. Their self-concepts grow stronger.