One of the biggest labels that toy companies love to put on their products is that it is an ‘educational toy.’ This is an easy sell to parents who want their kids to develop from the youngest possible age so that when they head to school they are whiz kids who are able to pick up on everything quickly, apply logic and solve problems as soon as they enter education.
Although educational and learning toys tend to be aimed at younger children, there are a number of exciting examples of toys that can teach children valuable things right up to teenage years. We looked at the evolution of children’s toys from birth, and how they change as a child gets older.
Traditional toys for new-born children and toddlers are usually things such as shape sorters or colour recognition toys.
The very best examples combine more than one element of learning. Take coloured wooden alphabet blocks as an example. These might come as part of a traditional shape sorting kit, so that children can begin to recognise squares, triangles, and rectangle while also developing hand-eye co-ordination and other motor skills.
Once the child has mastered that, they can move on to the colours with help from their parents, before finally moving on to letter and number recognition, and even simple spelling.
With this stage done and dusted, where next?
After a child is past the most basic stages of learning, they have a lot of independence and naturally want to explore this as much as possible.
A learning laptop is often a great way to encourage this from the ages between four and seven. Spelling is again introduced but more challenging, while maths problems and even foreign languages are a common part of such programs. The best thing about these toys is that children are intrigued by having something that looks the same as their parents’ laptop, while the skills involved often mirror what is currently being taught through the early stages of school.
Many people think that learning through play ends at that stage. However, the opposite is very much true. Traditional dolls can be excellent toys for learning for younger girls, especially when there are books and other activities that can be carried out within playtime.
Scientific toys such as telescopes, and build your own engine kits, are also hugely popular with both boys and girls, although they are more naturally targeted at younger males.
Learning toys aren’t just for the very smallest of children. There is an enriching educational experience to be found in toys for kids of all ages.
A Girl for All Time provides award winning dress up dolls, novels, and keepsake books, with exciting stories and activities for engaging the whole family.