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In the last few years, parents started getting more and more interested in choosing all sorts of educational toys for their children. Because a parent wishes the best for his child, a toy that is labeled as educational is very likely to be bought easier than others.
But what is an educational child toy?
Well, there is no definition of the term "educational toy" from what I know. However, what I do know is that an educational toy is a toy that helps a child learn something good, something that will help in the future. Play is the most important activity of any child. Learning thru play is a reality; it can and it is done unknowingly every time your child plays. The parent must however control the play so that it remains on an educational course.
There are also toys that aren't exactly educational for children. Toy guns and other such toys that somehow tend to violence and other bad behaviors are not recommended. You must avoid such toys. Although these toys may be a good source of fun for youngsters, on the long term they will only do harm.
How do educational child toys and games work?
As I said above, play is a child‘s main activity. During the play, a child learns many new things. Toys and games must be integrated into the play to make their job. This is not hard, because play consists of several games that require using toys. Any toy can be educational, as long as it does not develop a bad behavior, and it is used in your child's play. A toy must be used in order to be educational for a child.
To be clearer about how educational child toys and games work, I will take one example: Hide and seek.
Let's take a look at Hide and Seek. You do remember this game, right? Can you remember the rules? Ok, I will still list them here, and comment on them and explain its educational side.
The first rule is that every player must obey the rules. I know, I know it's obvious, but if players would not respect the rules, would there be any point for the rules to exist? Every child must learn and obey them, or else they are not allowed to play the game. The educational part of this is that the child learns to accept the fact that he cannot do everything he wants, that there are some limits and he must not pass them in order to keep his privileges.
One of the children in the group is chosen to count to 100 at the home tree (this helps young children learn the numbers in a pleasurable way, not like in school), without peeking (this educated the child to use fair play in all areas of the life). Meanwhile, the others must find a good hiding place, one that is both hard to discover and close to the home tree. This stimulates the child to think fast to the best solution to a given task.
After he finished counting to 100, the child says "Ready or not, here I come" and then he must search for the other players. He must be very careful. Once he finds a player hiding, he must run back to the home tree and shout his name. He must be vigilant so that he can hear any sound that might indicate the position of the other players.
The players who are already spotted must not tell where the others are hiding. This too educates children to use fair play.
The first player spotted is the next one to count to 100.
You'd never think that hide and seek, one of the most common games in childhood, could be so educational, right? Yes, it is a very educational game. And it's not the only one. Pick any game you liked playing when you were a child, and analyze its rules, as I did above. You'll be amazed.
Hide and Seek is oriented mainly towards developing fair play and physical skills.
Here's another example of educational child game that helps developing more advanced skills: Monopoly.
I won't bore you with its rules. This game introduces your child into the basics of modern business life. Acquiring high value properties, negotiation, taxes. Yup! This game educates your child to become the biggest businessperson on the Wall Street. Monopoly has rules that are more complex and it requires greater concentration. Specific jargon and names that mean much to the entrepreneurs get your child closer the world of business.
Toys are amongst the first objects a child gets in contact. Understanding how things work is a direct result of solving problems with toys like "Why this fits there?", "Does that fit here?", "How big is that?".
Toys help your child learn to grab, pull, push, synchronize the movement of the head with that of the hand.
Toys are indispensable when playing. Playing with a great variety of educational child toys helps your child develop his imagination, understand that different objects have different properties, and learn how to combine them to create other interesting objects.