Playing is essential for children because it is through play that they gain mastery over difficult concepts such as counting, adding, multiplying etc. For a child, play is her work, she puts as much energy, ingenuity, and concentration into her play as an adult does into her work. Her involvement in play is so complete; that many authorities feel that play is the most direct route to learning. Play and learning are inseparably linked together.
An infant practices eye focusing when she stares at a hanging mobile, and she coordinates her responses when she plays around with rattles and small rubber animals. A toddler, who is busy putting little things into a big container, is preparing herself for the complication of counting. A ten-year-old who is meticulously putting together the delicate parts of a train or a bus is learning the art of patience.
A child who plays with colors is learning that by mixing together different colors she can get entirely new shades and designs. All the time through playing she is investigating the world around herself, and learning new facts about it. Through play, children train themselves for useful work later on in life. Every hour of play they are graduating to more difficult tasks of life. In addition to teaching her new facts play helps the child to practice what she has learned. If she is being taught arithmetic she can find out that it really works while playing with marbles, blocks, and other similar objects.
Play not only teaches patience but also makes a child exercise her imagination and use her powers of observation. This is a big step towards acquiring the art of learning. It gives the child a way of connecting the facts and ideas she is hearing all the time around herself. The play also helps develop the child’s strength and coordination. Through play, she learns how to control her movements better. By supplying her with natural exercise and giving her more grace and control of her movements, play helps the child to grow up strong in both mind and body. Through play, a child imitates what she knows about the world of adults. This imitation is obvious when she plays.
This is what keeps the child occupied for hours, in an entertaining or creative way. Some of the entertaining games sold in the market are business, monopoly, house, Chinese checkers, play power, Aladdin’s magic box, magic robot, compendium, skates etc.
A toy should be unbreakable because it gets a very rough treatment from the child. Besides it should be safe, there should be no sharp points or cutting edges. If you accept that toys play a vital role in the early stages of your child’s development then you must also accept that their design and their manufacturer are equally important. Therefore you should buy toys brought out by reliable manufacturers only.
Suggested playthings for a pre-school child
Newborn baby to 1 year
Rattles, teething rings, squeaky rubber animals and, cuddly animals. This age group likes toys to which they can listen, look, handle and chew.
1 to 2 years
Push and pull toys that make a noise. Take apart and re-assemble the toys. This age group likes toys which they can push, pull, put together and bang.
2 to 3 years
Building blocks, balls, crayons, cars, dolls etc. This age group likes toys for dramatic and imaginative play.
3 to 5 years
This age group likes toys like doctor’s sets, doll’s sets, mechanic sets etc. This age group likes toys for imitating grown-ups, for outdoor play and for letting out energy.
To sum up, keep in touch with your child and her thoughts and imagination, by giving her a wonderful array of toys, so that she may have the chance of completely savoring her childhood pleasures.