Please close your eyes and imagine the last time that you saw a child with an electronic toy, tablet, computer, video game etc. Do you see the picture?
Close your eyes again and imagine when you last watched a child jumping rope. Did you see anything?
I figure you may not have had a problem with the jump rope, right?
A simple jump rope teaches and helps to develop courage, to interact and cooperate with other kids, problem solving, timing, great motor skills, muscles are worked out, and taking turns.
All the above with a simple jump rope that can be purchased for under $10.00.
What does a tablet have to offer compared to the above?
Toys represent the work of a child
We as adults consider toys as being fun, or just another game. We underestimate the value of play.
For the most part, for the children it is their work. It is their job. They are serious about it.
Children have a very high self motivation, once hooked up with the right toys.
They are learning about their body, the world, products, and how to interact with others.
They dramatically improve their skills.
They learn about characteristics of different objects, learn about success and failure
and using their energy, of which they seem to have much more of than we adults.
Toys and playing is much more than it meets the eye of an adult.
There is no strict borderline between playing and learning.
Playing and learning go hand in hand.
Toys help develop many skills (see list below) and the self esteem of a child.
Toys and communication
Have you ever truly watched a child when he or she is deep into playing?
They are in their own world. Even talking to their toys and hearing the toys answering them. They are in true communication with their toys.
Which becomes very special and turns into a new dimension once they discover the magic of a mirror. In true play, children are so fully engaged that they lose at times awareness of their surroundings, time, and space. Unfortunately, most adults have forgotten about their time
when they were kids and what the world felt like.
Main Factors in life – Toys will help with
What are the factors which determine later in the adult life success and happiness?
Determination in what you do
Making the right decisions
Being a team player
High level of communication
All the above are already developed in the personality during childhood through playing and interacting the family and friends.
Toys and Emotions
Toys will support emotional expressions like role play, pretend play, dolls and teddy bears the child is bonding with.
Play is healthy
Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also can help prevent childhood obesity through its active nature. Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
During play children learn to cope with emotions like fear, frustration, anger, and aggression, as well as success and enjoyment.
All-Time Favorite Toys
Crayons, pencils and paper
4 and 2 Wheel Scooters
Toys with wheels like bicycles and roller skates
Electronics and Electronic Toys
Most electronic toys are entertaining rather than educational.
The main electronic toys aside from TV sets are computers, tablets, video games and even smart phones.
The handheld gadgets are typically loaded with games and for the most part fighting and shooting games. Which are majorly expressing and executing force and violence.
The sensitivity level of what is violent has come down a lot over the years. In those games to hit with your head a brick wall or to be run over by a car is absolutely normal. The only consequence is you get less points in the game.
We are easily misled by electronic toys that have flashing lights, music or loads of sound effects.
The more functions the toy performs on its own, the less it is demanding from your child to operate the toy.
While we as children used to imitate the sound of a car or fire truck we pushed on the floor,
these sounds are now already built-in the electronic toys.
So, the child is not required to create, copy or to imagine anything.
True imagination is less needed and consequently less developed.
These gadgets along with the TV are the main reasons kids read less.
Abbreviations, emojis and signs replace words and complete sentences.
A smiling face says it all. And 10 million kids expressed themselves with the exact same smiling face they have downloaded from a library.
See this video here how the number 101 gets replaced by LOL which stands in our “new way of communication” for Laugh Out Loud.
Hence kids automatically become less literate with a reduced vocabulary and less abilities to express themselves in a defined way.
There is a movie Beauty and the Beast 10 million kids have the exact same image what the beauty looks like. Compared to 20 years ago 10 million kids had 10 million different images in their mind what the beauty looks like after reading the book or after the parents read the book to them with 5 pages every night before they went to sleep.
The screen time for children is already high enough or too much. I feel we should build a model with how often and how long at a time a child can play with screens.
Is there any potential harm if a child uses too little electronic toys? No – not in my opinion.
Is there any potential harm if a child uses too much electronic toys? Yes – in my opinion.
I believe playing outside has been drastically reduced due to TV time and electronic gadgets.
A total unknown or ignored fact is that basically every electronic toy like computers, tablets, smart phones and every screen including the TV set emits electromagnetic fields. These harm the human body big time. So, do Wi-Fi Stations, monitors, electric cars and even regular cars. See for details:
What skills are developed through playing
Playing with the right toys help to develop lifelong vital skills, which will determine later success in life. Here is a list of how many different skills are developed in a child due to playing with the right toys in the proper way:
gross motor skills through playing i.e. with balls, running a scooter etc.
fine motor skills through i.e. drawing, painting etc.
basics in physics
hand eye coordination
exploring the world
how things work
mastering through repetition
cause and effect
taking responsibility over your possessions
social interacting and cooperating with others
development of talents
choice and consequences
about structures and textures
how do things taste
how do things feel
how do things smell
how do things relate to each other
working the muscles by push and pull toys
learn about speed
discovering the laws of balls
scribbling and writing
eye hand coordination
fine motoric skills
grasp with one hand
grasp with two hands
interchange within the hands
interacting with other kids, even at a baby age
imitating activities and procedures
learning body expression
learning how to deal being a winner
learning how to deal to lose
learn to listen
play with others
play in a team
learning from somebody else
learning by copying
At a later stage there is a blend over from toys to serious passions and refined toys like
– learning a musical instrument
– joining a sports team
Who owns the toy?
I highly highly request parents never ever to dump a child’s toy. The toy belongs to the child, not to you. How would you like if your child dumps your favorite gadgets? At times we adults consider a toy out dated, shabby, not relevant for the child anymore. But that may not be the child’s point of view and often hurts its feelings.
We do not always understand how much a certain toy means to a child and how much the child is emotionally connected to this toy. We as adult can hardly see this. It is up to the child to decide to not need or want this particular toy anymore.
A very good way to handle this is to ask the child which toy do you not need or want anymore? How about you give this toy to another child who may want it ?
This process is a great life experience and pattern how to deal responsible with property and how to disconnect from something which had a certain value at a certain time in our life, but no more and not becoming a hoarder, but passing it on to somebody in need.
Is the toy appropriate?
Does the toy truly fit the child’s age, skills, and abilities?
i.e. not every 3-year-old lives, acts and plays on the exact same level.
Do not follow only the printing on the toy packaging which says for what age the toy is recommended.
Will the toy keep the kid interested over a long time period?
Will the child be happy using the product over a long time period?
Is the product durable?
Will the toy be something that will last a long time?
Is the product enticing and engaging to the child?
Does it offer an opportunity for fun, to learn, and to think?
Will the toy frustrate or challenge the child?
Will the child know how to use the product?
Or will it be too difficult to use it without adult assistance?
Does the toy offer something new to learn, to practice, or to try?
Does it provide value to childhood?
Or are there even any violent, sexist, or other negative aspects to the product?
The most important playmate for a child are the parents and siblings.
Parents are needed to nurture the growth of the child by providing quality food,
quality toys and plenty of love and time to be shared.
The key word is here TIME – for parents to share TIME with their children.
Make sure your child has a wide variety of toys available.
You as an adult do not live with one TV channel only, do you?
Please make a good, balanced choice between electronics and toys in the original sense,
which can not be replaced by electronic gadgets, but unfortunately the tendency shows that parents use them as a replacement.
The long-term consequences for children and our society can be catastrophic.