In December of 2018, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report that simple toys are crucial for normal development in childhood. They want to teach new parents what to and what not to give their children to play with.
AAP called the report “Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era”. It is a guideline for parents that describe the most beneficial toys that can ensure proper development. The report aims for newborns to school-age children.
Toy aisles are filled with digital and electronic gadgets that are available and eye-catchy for both parents and children. However, the AAP has a strong opinion on this topic and encourages parents to buy something much simpler than expensive flashing toys.
Aleeya Healey, MD, FAAP, expressed her opinion in a press release from the AAP, saying: “Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a ‘virtual’ or digital-based platform are more educational.” She also mentioned: “Research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app. Simple, in this case, really is better.”
Playing with toys is essential for proper child development. The study explains that: “Play is essential to optimal child development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.”
What is very important is the engagement between the children and their caregivers. Toys can assist this engagement, as the authors confirm this statement.
Alan Mendelsohn, MD, FAAP, in the AAP’s press release and a co-author of the report and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health at NYU Langone Health, stated: “The best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending, and interacting together.”
Digital toys can never provide the same benefits as simple toys. Videos, books with voice-record reading, and computer programs can be beneficial and educational, but these beliefs are not supported.
“You just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen. And when children play with parents – the real magic happens, whether they are pretending with toy characters or building blocks or puzzles together.” Mendelsohn added.
AAP reports that caregivers should give the children toys that increase social interactions, language interactions, symbolic and pretend play, cognitive development, and physical activity. With the help of animals, figures, and dolls, children can engage in pretend play. Toy food, vehicles and building can be of benefit when it comes to pretending play. It can help them to learn and use new words, describe, imitates, and cope with emotions and actual circumstances.
Toys can also facilitate problem-solving at an early age. In order to develop fine motor skills, cognitive and language development, early math skills and spatial awareness, children should be encouraged to play with puzzles and blocks.
These toys and much more aid in children’s development and can benefit from every aspect of their lives. When parents and caregivers pay attention to them and play with them, they can easily see how children’s skills develop much faster. So encourage other parents to grab their children’s toy food. While you play with them and express your imagination, you help them to develop their imagination and skills.