The Three Wise Men are coming soon!
The Three Wise Men are on their way! As they approach, so do the dilemmas of deciding what gifts to give to the little ones at home. That’s why we’re sharing some thoughts about the role of play and toys in children’s development. We do this thinking of the ages 2 to 5, the current ages of the children in the BiSC Project.
Playing is the natural tool for children to learn and grow. Depending on their age and developmental stage, children will have varying preferences, transitioning from exploratory and manipulative activities to more constructive and symbolic play.
Different types of play and toys have a distinct role in a child’s development. They contribute to the following areas:
- Intellectual Growth: by enhancing reasoning and logic, increasing attention span and concentration, promoting shared attention, and stimulating planning and organization. Examples include board games like “Lince” or Memory, matching games, picture dominoes, puzzles, and sorting games.
- Psychomotor Skills: by practicing movements of different difficulties in balance and coordination, understanding their own limitations, and getting body, space and time awareness. Suitable gifts include a ball, rackets and balls, a bicycle or tricycle, a scooter, hula hoops, a cart, or the classical ring toss game.
- Communication and Socialization: by providing a space for children to discover and respect others, share values, learning to follow rules and to take turns in social routines. Board games for multiple players, symbolic play, and outdoor group activities can help foster these social skills.
- Symbolic Thought: by engaging in pretend play, where children use objects, actions or ideas to represent something else. Ideas to promote pretend play could be fancy dresses, puppets, dolls, stuffed animals, toy garages and kitchens, cars, shop and cooking utensils, medical kit, or telephones.
- Creativity and Imagination: by manipulating, gluing, cutting, painting, or building. Materials such as finger paint, crayons, scissors, stickers, playdough, sand, molds, blackboards, building blocks, magnets, and musical instruments offer great scenarios for creativity.
- Emotional and Affective Development: by teaching children to identify, express, and respond to a range of emotions. There are specific feelings and emotions games, such as the color monster, emotions match games or emotions cards. However, any symbolic play will allow expression and observation of feelings.
Therefore, when selecting toys for these festive days, ensure they provide opportunities to stimulate different aspects of your child’s development. Make sure that the toy is age-appropriate, that it is not overloaded with intense stimuli and that it allows the child to be creative and experimental. Also, remember that children don’t need an abundance of toys.
The BiSC Project team wishes you a joyous Three Wise Men Day!
This post has been written by Muriel Ferrer, BiSC Project psychologist.