Why toys are important for children's development

in News
Playing and toys support the development of the child. Playing is what children do. Toys are their tools. When adults buy tools, quality counts. We want safe ones that work well and allow us to do our best. We look for thoughtfully designed, well-made, sturdy, durable products that we will enjoy using again and again. All this, and more, applies to toys.

This is what I learned. Playing is essential. High-quality development toys support the development of skills and therefore improve play. This is why children flourish. So what does that mean?

Safety is important
Safety is important. Solid construction is a must. But that's not the whole picture. The developmental age of the child is also important. Safety is a joint effort. Even the safest toys require adult supervision.

Manufacturers are required to label products that pose a choking hazard. The most common reads WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small Parts. Not for children under 3 years. That's one of six. The others apply to toys that are or contain a small ball or a marble, or, probably the most serious hazard, contain magnets.

Yet another warns that children under 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. That children with balloons require adult supervision. Safety warnings alert us to dangers. Furthermore, we must take into account where our children are in their development. We would do well to remember that some people need more time to get out of the habit of putting everything in their mouths. No guilt, no shame. Every child develops at his or her own pace.

Thoughtful design and careful construction
Thoughtful design and careful construction are hallmarks of the best playground equipment. These qualities primarily reflect an understanding of child development and an appreciation of how children acquire skills through play.

When a toy is well made, it is not only safe, but also satisfying. It works as intended. This is important. Just as we want our tools to perform well, children want their toys to meet their expectations. Otherwise the game becomes frustrating and the toys are pushed aside.