Monday Jan 17, 2022

Child learning through toys

What greater joy can you give a child than a toy? It wipes away tears, distracts from pain, overcomes boredom and loneliness, is a means of interacting with others, be they children or adults, and teaches them to become people.

The pleasure of watching children play and watching them manipulate and master their toys is something that every adult benefits from. Their little fingers are mastering coordination and artistic design as they build their brains on the complex computers they need to survive in the future. Toys are the greatest asset when teaching the basics of their education.

These early life tools don’t have to be the purchased toys or the expensive manufactured gifts that many may feel are essential to a happy childhood. If they are not available, the child will make his own. A stick becomes a sword or a pistol, perhaps a scouting tool, perhaps an airplane or part of a kite. The imagination is infinite.

Anything that floats can be a boat, a raft or an animal in the imaginary world in which children live. But give them the things that look like what parents wear around the house or in the shed and it will make their day. What child doesn’t imitate mom cooking on the stove when they give her pots to play with? Give him a toy drill or screwdriver and he will transform into a dad at work building something.

My two youngest grandchildren, just 2 and 3 years old, can already do complex puzzles with a combination of jigsaw animal letters. The oldest can count to 20 and when the books or toys cheer him up he is a different person. Suddenly, he takes on the air of an adult who wants to help out with household chores. He helps his younger brother achieve things and can be seen sitting down reading one of his books, just like Mom, Dad, or Grandma does.

These children have a blackboard and are learning to draw and write their names on it. They have drawing pencils and colored markers and are busy for some time sitting quietly coloring books or making magical pictures on drawing paper. Your sand pit and trampoline are vital components in your arsenal of things for your day. Dad has built them a playhouse in one of the trees where imagination and fun will increase forever.

Both children go to daycare while their parents work, which is the norm these days. Here they go to town with toys that make them explore avenues with peers their own age. Castles are built, riding toys are banged, stories are read to them, and playing outside is a whole new adventure with companions rarely found outside the center. Their vocabulary improves as they are forced to communicate during the game.

Toys make up your world and fill your days with joy and your dreams with expectations. The way they play and what they pretend to be is governed by what they see in their environment. Sadly, many children are not given toys or encouraged like my grandchildren and that is the saddest thing to witness. They come and hear violence, drunkenness and probably watch TV or spend their time alone, leading many to throw tantrums for attention. That doesn’t mean that other kids don’t have tantrums. And my oldest grandson lights up some beauties. But they are usually manageable in a few minutes with the right discipline.

How we raise our children and what they will become depends on what we do for them in the first few years of life. Encourage brain development and you get a lifelong learner. Discourage his ability and he or she will struggle with everything. Above all, you may lack self-esteem and self-confidence.

Not only are toys important in the early years, as this is the time to program the brain and interacting with adults is vital, it is a necessary part of growth. The caring and considerate parent is aware of these things, but many who have never had this kind of care in their young lives may find it difficult to understand how to help their own children during their formative years. But it is never too late to learn about the benefits of toys and fun interactions.

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