What are educational toys and what is their importance? Educational toys are carefully designed to help children learn new skills while playing. They are a great way to help instil a lifelong love of learning in your child, covering many different areas and opening up a whole world of fun learning!
Traditional educational toys have stood the test of time because they are wonderfully multi-functional as well as fun. They can teach motor skills, numeracy, shape and colour recognition while also stimulating a child’s imagination and social development – all at the same time!
I have taken a look at the different areas of development educational toys can help with and some examples from Teia Education’s specially curated range.
Fine motor skills & hand-eye coordination
Educational toys specially designed to develop and enhance fine motor skills and strengthen hand-eye coordination – like gripping, pressing and transferring objects accurately and locating and connecting specific pieces.
Hammer Tic by Toys for life is a great example because while enjoying hammering tacks into a cork board, children are also working on their hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and creativity whilst learning about shapes, colour and geometric design. I love that this is an activity that is so much fun for children, and also a skill that will come in handy for future home maintenance and crafts!
Educo’s Motor Skills Boards are fantastic for developing early writing skills as children become absorbed in moving the balls magnetically, working on their fine motor skills, spatial awareness and their ability to concentrate.
Problem-solving and critical thinking
Toys and puzzles that challenge children to follow sequences and work through problems to find solutions, such as questioning whether a piece is too big or too small or could be rotated and whether any patterns exist. These toys are wonderful for enhancing and developing critical thinking skills that will help with real-life problem solving, logic, reasoning and making connections between ideas.
As children play with nesting or stacking toys like Grapat’s nest bowls they are continuously using problem-solving and critical thinking skills as they find ways to stack or nest the blocks, find what fits or arrange them by size or colour.
In Toys for Life’s Animal Logic game, children organise the animals into the right formations for both the rows and columns, strengthening their logical and analytical thinking as well as their concentration.
Playing Educo’s Life Cycles game develops children’s fine motor skills, cognition of context and the ability to associate and combine as they learn about the growth of various organisms from birth to maturity. This material is self-checking with a sequenced image on the back of the cards so children can spot their own errors as a healthy part of the learning process, building resilient learning and independence. A game that has such a wealth of learning value is typical of Teia Education’s carefully selected resources.
Social development and communication
Toys and games that get children playing and working together to solve problems or achieve a common goal are very important for social development. Toys such as Educo’s pretend play cash register promote absorbing role-playing games, recreating shops and cafes for fun language development and acting out parts as well as practising money transactions.
Incredibly elaborate structures can be built through collaborative play with building and stacking materials such as flockmen, as well as strengthening the social skills needed to work with others in this way.
From fastening buttons to telling the time, educational toys are a great way to work on life skills while having fun.
Nienhuis Montessori’s dressing frames help children prepare for independently getting dressed whether tackling buttons, zips, buckles or laces and practice coordination and concentration.
Nienhuis Montessori’s Clock with movable hands and removable numbers is a classic example of hands-on learning helping to improve understanding of concepts.
Specific curriculum areas
It is important to keep the fun in learning no matter the child’s age and educational toys designed for specific curriculum topics enhance the learning experience, promote deeper understanding of concepts and appeal to different learning styles as they can be used in different ways.
Jegro’s Science Electricity Set brings learning about electricity, electronics and electric circuits to life as children build their own radios and other projects.
Understanding and comparing weights and measures is so much easier and more fun when children have a set of scales to work and play with. Solving Maths problems is so much easier when it is made visual using an abacus or into a game like Jegro’s Percentage Dominoes.
Educational toys really are a fantastic resource to optimise your child’s active, hands-on learning opportunities and stimulate their development while playing. They boost cognitive skills and help prepare for and complement school education. Most importantly, they make learning fun!
Sarah Varley is a freelance writer and mother of 2 from England. Sarah embraced the Montessori method for her children’s early education and is a huge fan of open-ended play with beautiful toys that last for generations. As a former Librarian, there will always be a special place in her heart for books, sorting and organising! Find out more at Letterpress Content.