We believe educational toys and games aren’t just for Christmas; they inspire a lifetime love of learning! Play nurtures development and is the foundation for all learning, helping children to build everything from communication and language skills to imagination and creativity. With this in mind, we’re confident that our educational toys will be played with all year round and have put together a list of ten areas of development that they support.
1) Communication and Language
Educational toys can provide children with opportunities to use their vocabulary and discover new words. Imaginative play tools such as puppets help young learners to express themselves, ask questions and practice the art of conversation.
Educational board games are a great way to help children make sense of social constructs such as following rules, listening to others, asking questions, winning and losing. Family games also help children to play co-operatively and, by actively listening, they will begin to take account of other people’s ideas and feelings.
2) Physical Development
Toys that aid physical development help children to be active and develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Fine motor skills refers to small movements such as gripping object and uses the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips and tongue. Resources such as Jumbo Tweezers and Handy Scoopers™ help to strengthen these muscles and prepare children for tasks that will increase their independence, such as holding a pen or dressing themselves.
Gross motor skills refers to the movement and co-ordination of larger body parts such as the arms and legs. Active play is a great way to develop gross motor skills through actions such as running, walking, jumping and crawling. Toys that encourage movement such as Pancake Pile-Up!™ and Math Marks the Spot™ help to promote physical activity alongside learning essential core skills.
3) Personal, Social and Emotional Awareness
Toys such as Mirror Boards and Puppets help children to build self confidence and form relationships. Children can use these tools to initiate conversations that help them to manage their feelings and sharpen observation skills. Through play, children become familiar with social constructs such as turn-taking, helping them to form relationships and develop respect for others.
Children discover the world through their senses. Toys that promote tactile awareness and sensory exploration help young learners to make sense of the physical world around them. By combining sensory awareness and scientific discovery with exploration toys such as magnifiers, projectors and microscopes children can satisfy their natural curiosity in the physical world.
5) Creativity and Imagination
Play is a full time job that is fuelled by creativity and imagination. Imaginative play resources encourage children to draw on first-hand experiences in pretend play scenarios, helping them to make sense of day to day life. By the age of three, children are able to absorb themselves in make-believe and will often start to create elaborate story lines. This type of play is important as it helps young learners to build confidence, perseverance and self esteem.
Starting school is an important chapter in a child’s life and educational toys help them to develop basic early skills to prepare them for their new adventure! By playing with toys that help with pre-writing, speech language and communication, confidence, numbers and early phonics, young learners will have the head-start they need to shine at ‘big’ school.
Learn more in our ‘School Readiness’ blog post.
7) Outdoor Exploration
Outdoor learning and active play are an essential part of a child’s development, building a variety of key skills including confidence, social skills and well-being whilst experiencing the wonders of the world around them. Hands-on tools such as Kidnoculars® and Jumbo Magnifiers encourage children to get up-close to nature, helping them to understand the world around them.
STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEM toys encourage children to solve real-world problems through enquiry-based problem-solving, hands-on experimentation, trial and error, and self-discovery. Challenges follow the Engineering Design Process (ask, imagine, plan, create, improve) and can pose challenges such as building simple machines or programming a Robot Mouse.
9) Core Skills
Learning Resources’ toys are designed in-line with the National Curriculum for England and help to support core skills across Literacy, Maths, Science and Geography. Through exciting game play and engaging activities, children will improve essential skills from the alphabet and phonics to fractions and measurement, without even realising they’re learning!
10) Learning is fun!
We think it’s important to keep children captivated while learning! Hands-on toys that are fun to play with, help to keep children present in the moment so that they can uncover their true potential.