Play is your child’s most important activity, just as important as eating or sleeping. In the game, the young child gets to know his own body and the world. He spends most of the day doing this and it seems quite normal. As he gets older, he learns to count while playing, respecting rules, interacting with other children, developing strategies…
Too often we tend to underestimate the importance of the game. This apparently futile activity is the best preparation for life. In the game, your child develops his agility, his intelligence, his emotional world, his ability to live in a group. To stimulate this activity, we are presented with an impressive range of wooden toys. Making a good choice from this causes many parents headaches. Before you buy anything, you should set up some rules of thumb for yourself.
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Choosing wooden toys that are good and educational means:
- The age of the child and his mental development is of fundamental importance in the choice of wooden toys. Experience shows that most parents overestimate their children and therefore expect and demand too much from them.
- It is particularly important that the child’s imagination is allowed to play freely. The small child creates his own children’s world with simple building blocks, which is often inaccessible to adults.
- The greater the playability of a wooden toy, the more interesting it is for the child.
- The child must be able to understand the content of the game. The construction and mechanical design of the wooden toy should not be too complicated. In any case, they must be adapted to the age and abilities of the child.
- The size of the wooden toy should be in accordance with the age of the child. Small(er) children, for example, need larger blocks, building blocks and car models than the older ones.
- The amount and variety determine the playing possibilities. Many parts are needed for building, for the mother-child game only a doll, but with a lot of accessories.
- The material from which the wooden toy is made must be in accordance with the age of the child and, moreover, appropriate for the wooden toy. Warmth and being able to grasp easily play a major role in early childhood.
- The color increases the stimulus emanating from the wooden toy, but too colorful shades can be disruptive, eg during modeling and building.
- The shape of the wooden toy should be simple and free from unnecessary frills. Funny and grotesque shapes arouse the enthusiasm of adults, but the child experiences his surroundings seriously and does not see her as a caricature.
- The durability of the permanent wooden toys must be able to withstand daily use.
- The safety of the wooden toy must be adapted to the age of the child as well as to the purpose for which the material is intended. When children of different ages play together in a room, special measures are therefore necessary. The precautions for baby toys are of course completely different than, for example, with the tools for large children.
- The price must be judged in relation to the play value and the lifespan of the wooden toy. Incidentally, it also applies here that an expensive piece, which remains in use for a long time, is often cheaper and is worth more than cheap material.
Practical guide to buying wooden toys
Wooden toys should always be adapted to the development of your child. It does not always coincide with his actual age. You have to judge that for yourself. And although you, like any parent, are rightly convinced that you have brought a second Einstein into the world, your child may not realize it yet and will not look back on your precious gift. That’s why there is a lot of recommended age on wooden toy packaging.
Buy something your child is happy with. Don’t sacrifice your child’s pleasure to your own preference.
Play is not always performance for children, no matter how valuable educational toys are. For a child, every object is a source of new experiences and discoveries and thus enriching for his development. In this regard, every object is “educational”.
Buy less but better: for that, you need to know what is available on the market. Around Sinterklaas and Christmas, there are always flyers and brochures out with a selection of better wooden toys.
What are good toys?
Forget once and for all that there is such a thing as “the best toys”. Be convinced that there are a lot of good toys out there. There is also no flawless intuition for the best choice, but common sense will get you a long way. Good toys are toys with which your baby can do something.
What is bad toys?
- For babies, you should avoid small toys that they can swallow. Be especially wary of small batteries, they are extremely dangerous because, if swallowed, they release acid in the stomach that causes perforations.
Avoid toys covered with lead paint that can flake.
- Stuffed animals must always be washable and comply with hygiene and purity regulations. Watch out for allergic toddlers.
- Watch out for plastic wraps: baby could choke on them if he pulls them over his head.
Too many toys is not good
There is an impressive range on the market and there are plenty of opportunities to give your child toys. But do not forget that dreaming about and longing for toys is also a source of joy. By always and/or immediately giving your child the requested toys, you deprive him of more than you give him.
You will quickly notice that your child becomes dissatisfied and plays less. That should be a writing on the wall. Do not overload your child with toys. But take some more time to play with him.
After a busy day, half an hour on the floor with wooden blocks brings harmony and peace.
Some important tips
The healthy child has an innate urge to play, if we do not hinder this urge it will certainly find the right way.
Therefore the following tips:
- Remember that freedom of movement is required to play. Unfortunately, our current housing construction takes too little account of this urgent need. Therefore, make sure that your child can enjoy themselves once in a while in the midst of greenery, sand and water. Give it a corner of its own at home, where it doesn’t have to constantly interrupt its game to clean up.
- The child should of course learn to tidy up, but it should not experience this as a chore. Best we do this together first, as a game; gradually it becomes something obvious and eventually the child will put his things away on his own.
- In particular, remember not to unnecessarily interrupt the child’s play activity. It is important for his general development and in preparation for school life that the child is given the opportunity to focus on his play and let his imagination run wild. Therefore, don’t constantly insist that it start with another game. It disturbs the concentration and makes the child superficial.
- Preferably let the child come up with ideas and try to discover what it can and also what it cannot do. One should only intervene and intervene when the child becomes unhappy because the stupid tower keeps falling again and again. Even if we constantly criticize what a child does, it will lose all self-confidence. Many parents feel that they are obliged to point out to a child who has built a house that a window or door is missing. However, the child only feels, from the criticism, that people were dissatisfied with him and dares to play less and less spontaneously.
- Take an interest in what the child is playing. Some encouraging words the child needs from time to time if he is to continue playing with joy.
- Remember that the child must also have playmates. It must have the opportunity to develop its social sense. Undoubtedly, the child will come and trot regularly in the beginning and complain. This complaining is real sadness and must be taken seriously. The pauses between the objections become longer and the interplay gradually becomes more successful. The child learns to develop his social talents.
- Some parents forget all too easily that the wooden toy does not actually belong to them, but to the child. Too frivolous, an old teddy bear is given away or a broken-down car thrown into the dump. Is it any wonder that the child will later have no respect for the property of others?