A developing child, a generative toy: what should we choose?
The children’s toys industry is so huge nowadays, that it can be very difficult for parents to decide what toy is good for their child. What aspects should we consider, how should we choose a toy?
As a mom with five children, I have thought to myself many times – as I looked around in the kids’ room full of toys – that we have so many toys that you can’t even play with properly, and only a few that you can play with a lot, and my conscience also feels right, because my children are spending their time doing something “normal”.
But what is a good, improving toy?
There is a basic principle, that applies to every good toy, no matter what the targeted age group is. The good – generative – toy is what activates when the child does something with it. So the toy is passive by itself, it requires the kid to bring his own activity and fantasy to make something happen.
What toys fit the description above? Obviously we could mention a lot of them, but with five kids, these are my all time favourites.
It is safe to say that Legos are way more than just toys, as children we enjoy building with cubes, and as parents, we see how our child improves while using them:
- fine motor movements (putting together cubes, stripping them apart)
- logic (which cube fits where)
- improving creativity
- self-esteem, growing self-confidence („how great am I”)
Every kid likes boxes. From boxes they can create, stick together, paint, decorate, put them in each other, make music, crawl into bigger ones and climb through them, build houses, ships and rockets from them.
However, collecting boxes is not always a pleasant task and saving enough of them can take lots of time.
With GIGI Bloks this is not a problem. GIGI Bloks is premade and has box parts made from strong paperboard, in two different sizes and three different formats. The creation has no limits, only the child’s fantasy matters.
GIGI Bloks improves
- the child’s imagination, creativity
- logic (what cube goes where, make it secure enough)
- self-confidence (if they are successful)
As a parent, there is no better feeling than my kids trying to solve a puzzle silently, on their own – almost as a secret – to show that they can do it on their own. From these, you can tell a story, so their lexical knowledge and their vocabulary grows. Furthermore, a puzzle teaches what a part and a whole means, gives a chance to solve problems and makes you think independently, it has a lot of advantages that can benefit the child during school.
Whether that be one piece or a hundred, a puzzle improves
- Fine motor movements (sometimes it can be hard for the kid to grab them, and putting them together can be a real challenge),
- If there is success, the child’s self-confidence grows
- The meaning of a part and a whole
- Problem solving skills
Movement not only improves the body but the spirit as well. With active programs, the speaking skills can improve strongly, it can help children struggling with learning or behavioral problems, but it can even be beneficial for a healthily improving child when he moves or does sports frequently.
Balance bikes are light, so even small children can go fast with them, and besides, if we need to carry it, it’s not heavy. It improves:
- Coordinated movements
- You can teach the most important transportation rules
- And that we need to watch out for each others on the street
With a little bit of practice it can be loved enough so that the child’s bicycle can be a loyal companion to them. A child that learns how to use a balance bike, after a bit of practice, can easily switch to a normal bike.
So what is a good improving toy? Obviously the more the people, the more the answers, but as you can tell from the list above, I think of a good generative game as something that improves the fantasy and imagination, makes the kid active, is not expensive, but has endless possibilities.