Games, toy and puzzles are almost a basic requirement of family child care.
A good toy is one that can be used in more than one way.
Why toy, games and puzzles are important? Toy, games and puzzles include a wide range of materials that children can explore, put together, pull and push, stack and create – sometimes for a long period of time. Appropriate toy gives children opportunities to practice new skills. Such as putting pegs into small holes, and to develop new skills. Such as matching pictures that are the same.
Games, toy and puzzles are almost a basic requirement of family child care. A good toy is one that can be used in more than one way. In fact the more ways in which such objects can be used, the longer they will hold a child’s interest. Also the more value you get from your investment. This is why construction toy, coloured pattern blocks, doll houses and sets of people or animals are so popular.
A good toy can be used by children at different stages of development; children will simply use them in different ways. For example, 1 year old and 4 year olds both enjoy nesting tubes. 1 year old typically put these toys in their mouth, drop them to see what happens, or just dump them into a container. 4 years old however will fit the nesting tubes together, make elaborate designs and structures with them and name the colour of each cube.
Many of the skills children learn using toys help prepare them for later schooling. For example, when they play with toy/games children learn about math s, patterning and direction.
Here are some ways in which children will grow and develop by playing with toys.
Children develop thinking skills by:
- Using their senses to explore a toy (going on a plastic ring)
- Identified colours in shapes ( playing with colour toy or using a game with geometric shapes)
- Learning directionality (turning puzzle pieces so that they fit together)
- Classifying objects according to size shape or function (playing with a button box and dropping buttons in a box)
- Being creative and solving the problem (trying to create a spaceship with the set of of pick up sticks)
Children develop socially by:
- Sharing materials that interest them (using toy, games and puzzles together during free play)
- Playing cooperatively (playing a Lotto game with another child)
- Taking responsibility (using materials carefully and returning them to their proper places)
Children develop emotionally by:
- Experiencing their own power (pounding a toy with a plastic hammer and seeing it move)
- Achieving satisfaction by completing a task (successfully completing a wooden puzzle)
- Extending the imagination and creativity (using parkway tree blocks to create unique designs)
Children develop physically by:
- Using small muscles skills (picking up colour tubes and dropping them in a plastic container)
- Practicing visual skills (playing with the set of stacking rings)
- Coordinating eye and hand moments (stringing wooden beads)
When children have time to play with toys, they manipulate explore and experiment. They learn many concepts and develop important skills while having fun.