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Playing together: educational toys and games for children

Crafting, solving puzzles, getting creative with paper and scissors – a child has an enormous urge to play. And that’s as it should be! Even though it often just looks like play and fun to parents, when playing together, toddlers and older children can learn a lot. Take sorting brightly coloured toys according to their colours, for example. Or training their eye-hand coordination when stacking building blocks. Learning is made especially easy for toddlers and older children (and even adults) when lots of fun comes into play. Read on to find out the best ways of playing with your child and how educational toys and games can support your child’s development.

What is an educational toy?

If you think of an educational toy, the first thing that most likely comes to mind is building blocks: a classic that your grandparents probably played with. However, educational toys have developed over the years and undergone a real upgrade. Cool designs with a wide range of options for play support our little ones through their respective phase of development as they play.

Just like educational games, educational toys are designed to teach a baby, toddler or child something through the medium of play. Strictly speaking, therefore, every toy is an educational toy that supports a child in its development, allowing them to discover certain abilities. Any toy that inspires learning through play or supports learning is an educational toy. It could be a puzzle that stimulates concentration, or even something out-of-the-ordinary or creative. The main thing is that learning becomes fun for the little one, without them feeling overwhelmed.

Which educational toy is best for play?

To start with, you can’t go wrong with an age-appropriate educational toy of a robust material. What is important is that a child wants to master a toy on their own. An attractive, brightly coloured design with thoughtful details, such as light and sound effects, make a toy particularly appealing to children. This is important because the toy should keep them happy and open up a new world for them, one in which they can play, learn and discover to their heart’s content. The material therefore has to be robust and high-quality, as this will ensure fun during play! Our Toddys range fulfils all of these demands and offers everything required of a good educational toy. Our Toddys enchant with their fantastical designs and thoughtful details. They’re just the right toy for children from 18 months upwards.

Are you wanting to buy a new educational toy, but you’re not sure whether it’s the right one? These questions will help you decide:

• What age rating does the toy have?
• Are the rules of play (if provided) easy to understand and not too complicated?
• Is the toy diverse enough?
• How will the toy support my child during its stage of development?
• Does my child perhaps already have a similar toy and will another one open up new worlds of play?

What are educational games?

The aim of an educational game or even an educational toy is to teach a baby, toddler or child something through play and having fun. It has a positive effect on the development of a child. The act of play should enhance the social, cognitive and motor skills of a baby, toddler or child. This is why educational toys and games are so popular in nurseries or even in schools. Games such as playing “families” or the like help a child explore the world and its environment. During play, confrontations can occur, and arguments or annoyances over failures have to be overcome. And so children learn how to handle such situations. 

In school in particular, educational toys are used to develop e.g. social skills, or teach important core skills (letters of the alphabet, names, colours, numbers), especially in the first one or two years. Songs with a learning effect can also be educational games. Take the ABC, for example. Rhythmical singing of the letters and the reciting of names of animals which start with the respective letters can help children better memorise the alphabet. The same can be achieved with numbers, the names of towns and cities, or types of animals.

Which educational games are suitable for which age?

There is a wide range of educational games that parents can use to support toddlers and even older children. But it is necessary to pay attention to the respective age range and the interests of the child. A game that is suitable for a baby will demand too little of a toddler and vice versa. Babies, toddlers and children need to be challenged but not overstretched. Learning through educational play should above all be fun. 

From the age of 12 months upwards, you can play simple movement games with your child, such as “Row, row, row your boat”, for example. Movement games strengthen the motor skills and develop a child’s muscles. If your child is a little older, movement games such as sack races, tug-of-war or musical chairs will bring much delight!

One good idea for a game suitable for children aged three years and above, which doesn’t require any materials or knick-knacks, is a quiz. Depending on the age of the participants, you can ask them a range of tricky, simple and amusing questions. They will take their time thinking about the tricky questions, and even if they are unable to solve one, the right answer will fulfil the leaning objective. The amusing questions can be discussed by the participants, keeping them happy, with the simple answers increasing their sense of self-worth. This is a quick and easy way of transforming a boring car journey into an educational way of passing the time. Other situations involving a period of waiting can also be filled with a small quiz. So that you don’t have to keep coming up with clever questions on the fly, try preparing a few quiz questions in advance at home and writing them on a piece of paper.

Tip: You don’t need much to create a good game. A creative idea together with an exciting topic often produces an amusing game with a certain learning effect. 

In conclusion: why is it important for children to play?

Creatively challenging children and encouraging and strengthening all of their talents and traits is very important for their development. Playing, crafting and being creative together not only boost the relationship between you and your child, they also help your child with its development. In addition to certain skills that can be practised during play (fine motor skills, memory, etc.), a young child’s feeling of self-worth will also be developed. The skill of logical thought is encouraged and certain rules and obeying them are practised – after all, every game has rules and instructions that have to be followed. So as you can see, play is very important for a child’s development. Educational toys in particular can help you as a mother or father to target the development of your child – for example by using our Toddys.

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