SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Play, Play, Play

"Do I really need to buy that (one more) toy?"

"Gosh, look at the cost"

"How long before he is going to ask me for another toy?"

Do these mental conversations sound familiar? I am sure every parent has gone through that phase where too much is too less and and in an enthusiastic need to encourage learning in our child we land up buying way too many toys which our children outgrow too soon as well.

Hold On

Keep that thought.

So why do we buy toys? Do they actually serve a purpose?

Let us rewind a bit, and put things in perspective. 0-5 years is the crucial development period and most learning happens around this age, and most importantly learning happens as the child pro-actively engages with the environment through outdoor and indoor playful interactions.
Children are used to playing with whatever is available to them...give them a plate and spoon and see how your toddler starts banging on it...and you don't even have to teach them. We are naturally programmed to use and invent uses for objects and things. So a plate and spoon can become a toy, and I am sure you would have noticed how even a cardboard box (and not the gift inside) becomes curiously engaging for little kids.

As the child grows toys become tools to make new friends, a tool that teaches us to share, a tool that helps in learning and a tool that aids growth and development.

Providing... we allow the child that kind of learning/ playing space away from TV/ Computer time. A child playing with a toy is using innumerable neural pathways, that are not activated if he is 'playing' on the computer or watching TV. This message is my heartfelt 'shout out' to parents, TV and computer time has to be restricted and play in all and any form to be encouraged if children are to survive to live an emotionally and socially stable future.

So when Anupma from Learning, called me and asked me to blog about the importance of play and of course spread the word about her venture (an online Toy library- that also provides Free Home delivery); I was happy to oblige as it is a topic that is close to my heart.

Going back to where I started, after a point, buying toys becomes painful. So a toy library is a great way to invest your money, but reap benefits long term. I browsed through the website and almost all your queries are answered there, and as I can see, it is a growing collection, so I am sure you can put in your requests too. The concept of Reuse and Recycle is driving them and they also sanitize and clean the toys after every use.

Some interesting toys are available for rent with them, I liked the Magnetic dress up set and the Touch and Explore Learning globe. Many are branded toys that we usually think twice about buying.

My personal recommendation is that they should also have an Indian Toy section, Wooden toys and board games.

Quoting Abraham Maslow, the famed psychologist who says, "Almost all creativity involves purposeful play", and going a step further on that quote I add that "purposeful play leads to inventions"!

So encourage that little inventor in your home... play, play ,play!!!

( check out: Learning