If you’ve spent any time with preschool-age children and toddlers, you’ll quickly notice that they tend to have one thing in common: they love to play. The great thing about kids in the 2-5 age group is that, for them, play isn’t a frivolous activity – it’s how they learn. Think about it: if you were a preschooler, would you rather learn through being lectured, or learn through play? Here’s just a few of the best types of toys to encourage the development of crucial skills in preschoolers.
1. Sorting Toys
Toys that involve sorting are stacking are a great way for preschoolers to develop their sorting and prioritizing skills. These toys may take the form of colorful blocks and other toys that encourage kids to place things in a particular order.
2. Kinesthetic Toys
Kinesthetic toys are toys that get kids moving. Bikes, pedal cars, scooters, and toddler-safe trampolines are all great ways to help a preschooler’s physical development. By associating play and fun with exercise, children will develop good habits when it comes to their physical health. A kid that finds physical activity fun will be less likely to opt for TV and video games in the future.
3. Musical Toys
Research shows that children who are exposed to music from an early age do better in school and are more emotionally stable overall. Plus, music can become a fun interest and hobby for the child as they grow up. There are tons of musical toys out there, and even many “kid versions” of real instruments. All of these are great ways to expose a preschool-age child to music.
4. Alphabet Toys
It’s never too early to start teaching a child about letters and their sounds. Reading and writing are subjects that many kids struggle with during their early school years, and a lot of that can come from not understanding letters and their associated sounds. After all, letters are the building blocks of words and sentences. Many preschoolers will enjoy toys that allow them to push a letter button and hear the sound that it makes. This is a simple and effective introduction to letters and their sounds. Older preschoolers may be able to play with letter magnets or letter blocks.
5. Puzzle Toys
A puzzle doesn’t always mean a traditional 100-piece jigsaw puzzle, which is too tedious and complicated for a preschool-age child. There are many kid-friendly puzzle toys out there nowadays. A puzzle toy can be anything that encourages the child to match one shape to another. For instance, a simple preschool puzzle might have wooden animal shapes that the child then matches with the same shape on a wooden board. Puzzle toys are a great way for preschoolers to develop a consistent understanding of shapes.
6. Pretend Toys
Kids of both genders are often drawn to toys that allow them to make-believe – specifically, it’s common for children to want to participate in a type of pretend play that mimics adult activities. This can take the form of play houses, pretend kitchens, pretend food, and dress-up clothes. Toys that encourage pretend play are a great way for parents to teach children about manners and morals (i.e., if the preschooler just made a pretend meal, you can encourage them to “clean up” since it’s the responsible thing to do.)
Learning through play is a great way to set up a lifelong love of education. We often underestimate the learning capabilities of preschoolers, but through creative, fun, and educational play, you may be surprised at how much valuable knowledge a young child is able to retain.
Larissa Pray writes about education, finance & saving money at www.flowerdelivery.net.