Children learning toys play a very important role in teaching concepts (e.g. colors, shapes, textures); allowing the kids to explore and use one’s imagination to understand the world around them (e.g. pretending to be a cook, gardener, doctor, nurse, carpenter etc.); and the best part is simply to have fun with life.
There are many children learning toys that are available online and in the toy stores. But if you look closely around you, there are many things that you can allow your kids to use as free educational toys. Yes, there are!
When my nephew was two years old, he would sneak into my room and his eyes would widen with delight when he saw my shoe boxes. He would say, “borrow” and grabbed my pencils and pretended that the boxes were drums. He’d bang away with gusto which made me smile. When he was through with his concert, he would open the box. I actually laughed aloud when he exclaimed, “Woooow, paper!” Who would have thought papers inside shoe boxes would entertain him this much. But it did.
There are many things that can indeed be used as educational toys or children learning toys. I recently came across this article “Best Children’s Toys of All Time – Educational and Free.” It beautifully expressed how simple and ordinary things like toilet paper rolls, sticks, boxes, and paper bags, feathers can be transformed into puppets, telescopes, masks, tents and anything and everything. Let your child’s imagination run free.
The writer, Frieda Babbley, also wrote how nature is the best playground for kids. Allowing the kids to explore nature like climbing trees, rolling on the grass, playing with sprinklers or puddles, letting them hold snow, flowers, leaves, and rocks are wonderful and superb ways to let them appreciate the world that they have. When you observe kids in the playground, they would run, attempt to climb the trees, touch the flowers, look at the ants crawling and have a grand time.
Don’t miss out her article. It is truly awesome, one that you must take time to read. As adults, we may even be inspired to rediscover the wonder of the world in this way.
In our preschool, we also expose the kids to educational toys or learning toys such as these. Not all toys have to be bought in the toy stores or have to be expensive ones for it to be useful.
Take for instance, let us go back to our ordinary looking boxes. We would also use a box to hide the letter of the day. We would ask the kids to close their eyes and at the count of 5 open them. Right before their eyes, we would open the box to unravel a letter or picture. Boxes can become a mail box where the kids can drops their letters too.
During arts and crafts, the kids would make houses using boxes. The last project we did was a manger where the nativity scene was carefully made. Big boxes can be used to throw balls and a perfect hideaway for our puppets! So don’t throw away those boxes, there are many things you can do with it.
Children learn best when they are exploring things in a safe environment. And using ordinary things in a fun and creative way gives kids a new perspective at a young age. That learning and education is found everywhere. That if you are in touch with nature, it teaches you to honor and respect life. Being aware of the many things that can be used as learning toys can make education truly expansive.
Enjoy life learning!
By: Michelle Simtoco