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  • India’s most comprehensive parenting portal, with excerpts from ParentEdge – India’s leading parenting magazine

Learning Through Play



iPad Incentives New technological developments like the iPad have their own ‘apps’ and learning experiences to offer. These might work with children who find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, and enjoy an entertaining approach where all their senses are involved. Some useful iPad apps for children include:

  • Rainbow Sentences: teaches how to arrange the elements in a sentence, using colour coding
  • Butterfly Munch: teaches mathematical abilities and co-ordination skills
  • Story book apps: something like ‘A Little Book about Feelings’ helps children learn social and emotional messages with the help of enchanting images
  • Kids App Friday: teaches toddlers ABC and colours

Toy Library Trail

Here’s a list of various toy libraries in the country (remember, choose wisely!):

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Perspectives

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Manisha Vaghani runs ‘Play Smart’, an educational toy library in Mumbai. ParentEdge spoke to her to find out how such libraries can help parents and children.

Why did you start an educational toy library? What was the motivation?

As a trained teacher, as well as a parent of young children, I always knew that there is a good variety of materials available to stimulate children’s learning in their early years. I also observed that many parents were clueless about what toys and books to buy for their children, and that they often ended up buying toys that were inappropriate for their age and stage. I believed that I could step in and make a difference to children’s learning – this led me to start my toy library. In this, I worked backwards – I studied the skills that children needed to learn at different ages, and then tried to analyse how they could pick these up. Accordingly, I bought the educational material.

What is the demand for these kinds of toys that function as educational aids?

With the parents of today being much more aware of their children’s learning requirements, the demand for educational toys is huge. Apart from this, teachers, occupational therapists and speech therapists are also recommending educational toys, as these are tools that can be personalised for each child’s individual learning requirement.

How can play be made enjoyable as well as educational? 

In a child’s early years, the word ‘play’ is overused; however, this is justifiable, as all knowledge in the early years should be imparted through play. Play can be made enjoyable as well as educational in many ways. For example, if a child wants to know the lifecycle of a butterfly, a parent can teach this through the story of ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ which narrates the tale of a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly. By turning a scientific concept into a fascinating story, you are ensuring that the child will never forget it. Another instance — counting can be taught through board games – rolling the die – or through other fun games like throwing the dart on a number, or counting objects in hand.

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