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What are educational toys? And which ones to buy?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Educational toys don’t necessarily mean toys that are limited to teaching children something curricular like literacy or numeracy. Instead, educational toys are defined as toys which are designed to stimulate a child’s mind to advance their learning.

Educational toys will usually enhance a child’s learning through developing their logic and problem solving skills, encouraging communication skills, refining motor skills and nurturing their creativity.

The toys children play with will have an important impact on their lives, and educational toys help to equip children with essential skills early on.

Below we’ve outlined the six best benefits of educational toys, and listed the best educational toys to consider buying to help achieve the benefit.

1. Motor Skill Development

Motor skills refer to the actions and the movements of the muscles in the body. Children naturally develop their motor skills when they’re playing, such as when they’re running around or picking things up.

Educational toys not only help to develop motor skills faster, they can also enhance different motor skill groups such as fine motor skills, which refer to the groups of small muscles in the hands, fingers and thumbs.

The great news is that there are a variety of educational toys that can help to develop a child’s motor skills. Toys that encourage hand-eye coordination, like shape sorters, or threading beads can all help to strengthen the different muscle groups needed to benefit children’s motor skills.

Best toys to buy to benefit Motor Skill Development:

  • Building Blocks

  • Stacking Cups

  • Threading and Sewing Kits and Games

2. Initiate Problem Solving

Problem solving is a skill that we learn in childhood and carry with us throughout our lives. As adults we’ll encounter problems in the workplace or at home, and we’ll call upon our ingrained problem solving skills in order to resolve them and find a solution.

As problem solving begins in childhood, it’s an important skill to encourage and nurture almost immediately. Children who can solve problems for themselves will become more independent, confident and happier overall.

Using educational toys is one way of engaging the logic needed to begin to initiate independent problem solving. Toys like magnetic construction kits and puzzle games will encourage children to think creatively - a key life skill that they will always fall back on.

Best toys to buy to benefit Problem Solving:

  • Magnetic Kits

  • Puzzle games

  • Balancing Blocks

3. Promote Social Interaction

Whilst today’s digital world certainly has some advantages, it also has some consequential negatives because of children’s exposure to screens. Nowadays with the rise of tablets, smartphones and digital learning methods, it’s becoming increasingly easy for children to only interact digitally and not develop social interaction skills.

Thankfully there are a number of educational toys which encourage play and interaction with other children so that children can learn how to make friends, hold conversations and experience positive relationships and interactions.

Educational toys that promote social interaction usually aid teamwork, communication, compromise and patience whilst also developing confidence and esteem. The best toys to do this are of course interactive team toys, such as dress-up costumes, arts and crafts and finger puppets. These types of toys also encourage creativity and the sharing of ideas, which enables children to talk to a wide variety of different people with confidence.

Best toys to buy to benefit Social Interaction:

  • Hand puppets

  • Finger Puppets

  • Dress Up Costumes

Advance Communication Skills

A child’s communication begins the moment they let out their first cry. From there it develops into a fundamental part of anyone's life.

The fact that communication is so important is why children should be encouraged to advance their communication skills as early as possible so that they can learn how to express themselves confidently and clearly.

Though children predominantly learn how to communicate by listening to their parents and teachers and copying their words, or through reading, educational toys can also support the advancement of communication.

Toys such as counting or sequencing toys, early years books and even finger puppets all encourage and promote communication skills.

Best toys to buy to benefit Communication Skills:

  • Puppets, like finger puppets

  • Early years reading books, such as rhyming books

  • Counting or sequencing toys

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