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Learning Through Play

Another reason that parents are increasingly turning to educational toys is to train their children for school interviews. Despite what the legislation of our country may say, many schools still organise interview or ‘observation’ sessions where the child is ostensibly observed at play. Such sessions not only test a child’s verbal skills (examined through basic questions), but also assess a child’s fine motor skills – by observing how children play with clay dough or beads – as well as logical abilities – by observing how a child solves a puzzle. In some cases, these interviews also measure the physical ability of a child by allotting her tasks like jumping or running. Since such skills can be best acquired through the play method, the use of educational toys is expedient.

Educational toys: edifying but expensive? Switch to a toy library!2

Toys, as we all know, have limited reuse value, especially those that require children to solve problems, reason out or complete a puzzle. Once solved, the toy loses its value in the child’s eyes. Additionally, the best educational toys today are made with highquality materials and may not always be cheap to buy. A word of caution here – there are a number of toy libraries mushrooming all over the place, but be sure to make the correct choice for your child. A toy library should have toys that are scientifically conceived by trained and knowledgeable people – people who can guide you based on what your child needs; they shouldn’t merely be provision stores with ornamental toys on their shelves.

What Can I Learn Today?

Different games and educational toys can instil different skills in children. Here are some illustrative examples:

  • Stacking toys (colourful rings, baby block towers): refine motor skills, hand and eye-coordination skills and problem solving skills
  • Lacing toys (shoe laces): improve concentration and patience, and build fine motor skills
  • Bead maze toys: teach children shapes, colours, spatial thinking, problem solving and fine motor skills
  • Puzzles: since these require matching, sorting and problem solving, children learn logical thinking. Moreover, picking and grasping puzzle pieces help develop fine motor control, which helps children develop the ability to write much  faster. Children also benefit emotionally – solving puzzles leads to a sense of achievement, of having completed something, and of possessing the ability to solve problems speedily
  • Chess/Checkers/Ludo: encourages strategic thinking, which is relevant to the real world


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