As a loving parent or caregiver, it is common to feel inundated and a bit overwhelmed by your child’s frequent requests for the newest and flashiest toy that has just hit the shelves. It’s also OK to feel like toys are overtaking your household as your child collects more and more throughout the years.
Creatively using toys while playing with your child supports their cognitive growth and can enhance their communication development in a multitude of ways. That noisy, light-up toy that may make your head spin might also be working to meet your child’s sensory needs, enhancing the development of their communication skills. The list below includes some of the many reasons why toy time is so beneficial for childhood development!
Having your child dress up their favorite baby doll may support them with fastening clothing snaps, putting together strips of Velcro, and using zippers while dressing themselves. Cutting pretend fruit and playing in the imaginary kitchen can help them learn routine tasks and skills that are necessary for preparing meals within your household. Toys that enable your child to practice activities of daily living can increase self-esteem and autonomy by allowing your child to practice demonstrating these real-world skills.
Taking time to play with your child sends the message that you are invested in their interests. During play, you will likely get to learn about your child's favorite characters from books or television. Leaving space for your child to share their interests is affirming and communicates the message that you value their ideas. It’s not so much the new toy that’s all the rage, but rather the quality time spent talking and bonding with beloved family members.
Play enables your child to engage their imagination in the most wonderful ways. They can transport themselves to any time or place and develop rich play schemes and narratives that may mirror activities in their everyday lives or enable them to assume new roles and explore novel ideas. The next time you're wishing that you could take your little one on a week-long vacation to the beach, remember that it may be just as much fun for them to hop in the bathtub with their favorite dolls and action figures and dream up their own unique ocean adventure.
Toy time is an amazing time to promote loving connections and to learn and build new skills. If it feels like your child’s playroom is bursting at the seams, view it as a wonderland where new ideas can blossom. On the other hand, if you feel like your play space is looking a little sparse or needs an upgrade, view it as a new frontier where you and your child's creativity can be activated and re-engaged.
Repurpose well-loved toys and find new contexts in which to utilize them. You can even involve your child in reorganizing the space to fit your family’s needs. Conquer toy time by making it your own. Have fun and enjoy the adventure. View this as a time to learn, grow, and create alongside your child and build something beautiful together!
Learn more about fun and creative ways to use toys to help your child's language development at www.kidconnectionstherapy.com/resources.
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