Since the beginning I will notice that there are no guides how to choose any special kind of toys but you will find in the post general philosophy of choosing good educational toys and learning games for kids.
Today we face mainly two problems choosing toys:
- there are too many toys in the shops
- there is a desire to educate our kids before it’s too late
In first case we just don’t know which toy will be great for our child at the moment and we have difficulties with choosing from the big range. Age limits recommended by producers are quite vague and every child develop differently. As competition between producers is high each of them tries to produce the most colourful and universal toy. The one which will attract parents attention. Kids usually are not excited with those toys for too long.
Second problem which I mentioned connected with the modern trend to start to educate kids as early as possible. Very often we try to entertain our kids with the things which go before kids needs at the age.
Spectacular example is alphabet. Today motto “after age of three is already too late” is very popular. Followers of the approach try to put in kids heads as much as possible while they eager to absorb everything.
It is true that memory potential of small kids is huge. And attempts of early learning might fructify.
However such approach is dangerous:
- it may kill further desire to learn forced skill/subject when right time will come
- it leads to child dependency with learning on parents
- the opportunity to evolve needed at the precise time skills will be lost
Before the age of three kids actively explore the surrounding and subjects in it, their characteristics, they polish up large and fine movements.
That’s why it’s worth to dedicate this period for playing with the staff which stimulate evolvement of large and fine movements. After this period it will be too late!
Just during first years kids learn basic skills for their life which in the future will be a base for development of linguistics, analytical and mathematical skills.
All these will come but a bit later. And then a child will be eager to learn letters, numbers, etc. You will notice it for sure!
My son is 1 year 1 month. Every time when he is taking certain subject (either a jar to close and open or money box to put the snap in there) I am amazed by the nature. These things are precisely what he needs at the moment as they develop fine movements. And my small man just follows his natural instinct and it turned out that this instinct leads him in the right direction. It means that everything is simple and we just need to hear ourself! And we should learn to hear and comprehend our kids.
Following this logic space for kids should not be overloaded with colourful and disfunctional (not matching age needs) toys.
A lot of games we can create ourself and they will be even more interesting for kids. Grains, bottles, jars, drawers… Let your child choose the game.
Minimalism with kids is possible. Just trust the nature and natural affection!