Toy Blog - Toys, Parenting, and Kids

Playing – It Isn’t Just For Fun!

I spend three days a week with a class of twelve children, ages four and five years old.  As one of my boys was leaving the class to go home with his mom last week, I overheard her ask her son, “How was your day today?”  Her son replied, “Great!  All we did was play today!”

Playing is one of the most beneficial gifts we can give our children.  While we may look at play as simply the “surface value” of what we see, play is much more than that.  Playing carries with it an amazing number of benefits and learning development strategies which children need later on to help them on their journey of learning.

First of all, playing builds coordination.  Children are more apt to take greater risks when playing, simply because they are taking on the persona of someone or something else when they play (most of the time).  While a child might be too timid to run and leap on their own, they might become the most agile gorrilla when playing in their make-believe jungle.  Playing allows children to try new skills out without feeling pressured or threatened.  There are no expectations when playing, only the imagination and the child dictate what will happen. 

Speaking of the imagination, playing is a huge tool in building imaginations.  Children who can imagine and create will more easily be able to hone in on higher order thinking skills and problem solving skills as they grow.  Children can learn to solve problems in a non-threatening environment.  While playing, children can create their own situations and devise solutions to their problems.

Playing also fosters good social skills among children.  By playing in a positive way with peers, children learn how to appropriately treat others and how they like to be treated as well.  Children realize in a positive environment that good manners and nice words will carry them far in life, moreso than bossy, critical behavior.  Playtime is an excellent opportunity for children to learn social skills that will stay with them forever.

The mom of the child mentioned in the beginning winked at me as she walked out the door to her car.  She knows the power of play and the important skills playtime addresses for children.  Play isn’t just for fun; it is a powerful tool in learning life’s lessons.

For The Love Of A Doll

My husband thought I was weird at first.  There I was, a new mom with a baby boy, and I was picking out a baby doll for him.  He never outright said anything negative about it, but I could tell by his hesitation and slight resistance that he figured a brand new truck or a stick horse would be a more appropriate toy for our son.  I couldn’t have disagreed with that idea more. 

By the time our second son was born, my husband had already seen the relevance to the baby doll purchase.  Dolls provide children with an outlet for non-threatening, interactive, pretend play.  By pretending that they are a Mommy or a Daddy, children can role play different situations and learn how the world “works”.  Daddy might cook.  Mommy may go to work.   Someone is taking out the trash.  Someone is cleaning up the toys. The baby needs a bath and teeth brushed.  Mommies and Daddies help.  Children can practice routines that they experience in their own lives: bedtime, mealtime, getting ready for school or daycare, and even playing with other children. 

Dolls are especially important in helping young children adapt to younger children in the family.  At a time when the child may be feeling a bit left out of all the hullabaloo surrounding the new baby, the baby doll can give the older child a chance to take care of a “newborn” without fear of failure or harm and in a positive and loving way.  They can mimick Mommy and Daddy’s role in taking care of the newborn and see how much work goes into taking care of a baby.

Children who are overly shy can branch out and explore in a “safety net” relationship when they befriend a doll.  They can learn how to interact with other children and role play different situations that may be fearful to them.  Dolls are a wonderful tool to use when trying to figure out what may be troubling a young child; young children are often more apt to talk to an inanimate object, such as a doll, than a grown up.

WonderBrains offers a wonderful line of dolls for both boys and girls.  new dolls on site and the importance of interactive, pretend play in a child’s growth and development, both boys and girls.  HABA brand dolls are soft cloth dolls from 12 inches to 15 inches and are made in Germany.  They are all safe for children ages 18 months and up.  Their line even includes boy dolls as well!  WonderBrains carries a variety of clothing and accessories that are perfect with the HABA line of dolls.

When you are preparing for the upcoming holiday season, be sure that the children in your life have a doll.  It is a wonderful tool for growing and learning as well as a wonderful toy!

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