“Play is the work of the child.”
Maria Montessori said this, and it’s still true today.
If play is children’s work, then toys are their tools of the trade. Toys allow kids to use the skills they have and to challenge their bodies and minds in the most interesting ways.
Toys seem to magically bring about joy, from the simplest rag doll to the most advanced electronic gizmo. But more than that, toys help your kids realize important developmental benefits… just by having fun.
Here are a few of the amazing things kids experience when they are happily absorbed in playing with a toy:
Don’t underestimate the need for a child to de-stress. School and life can be hard for them. When you allow a child to take a break and unwind with fun, jump on it! Play is the perfect way to help release muscle tension, taper temper tantrums, and decrease anxiety. Plus, play puts everyone in a good mood!
Toys encourage children and adults to play together. Doing so opens the door to conversations. It builds strong relationships that will continue long after the toys have been put away.
Playing with toys offers repetition, which, in turn, leads to comfort and confidence. By being able to practice, children gain skills that lead them to push beyond their current levels. Plus, many toys have different levels of play. This helps children begin at a level that’s right for their abilities and move up when they feel comfortable and confident to do so.
When kids play with toys, they think of unique ways to solve problems, learn cause and effect, be creative, and expand language skills. Through play, kids also pick up new ideas, build both fine and gross motor skills, cope with becoming frustrated, and learn how to get along with others.
Learning new skills can be a challenge, but when introduced through play, skill development isn’t work, but fun that results in children wanting to do more—play more, learn more. And that growth is promoted by the children themselves, not driven by their parents or teachers.
So, the next time you give a child a toy, you can smile knowing that you’re giving much more than that —you’re impacting a child in subtle, but powerful ways!