Children are typically ecstatic for shiny new toys. Even adults in today’s society are eagerly waiting for the newest phone or tablet. The challenge parents and educators face is that by the time a new toy has been opened and the box and twist ties have been deposited in the trash can, our children are already searching for something else they want. Attention spans are dwindling and parents are having a difficult time keeping up. For parents who aren’t willing to buy a new toy every time they visit the grocery store, this creates quite the predicament.
Children are initially excited about new toys but they tend to lose interest in them when the games they play become redundant. Open-ended building toys are proven to increase a child’s mathematical development, cognitive skills, and their ability to understand language. The investment products that encourage cognitive skills like spatial learning are a wise investment in STEM education that will pay off down the road.
- Require minimal or no instructions
- Promote imaginative play
- Blocks, arts and crafts, musical instruments, dress-up toys, and dollhouses are a great example
Benefits of open-ended play:
- Requires imagination and cooperation
- Better social skills
- Increase mathematical development
Language is the foundation of literacy
The foundations of language lead to successful reading and writing skills, allowing children who were raised with open-ended toys to thrive in an educational system that is so heavily dependent on literacy. Speech pathologists recommend open-ended toys like wooden blocks to encourage imaginative play, language, and fine- and gross motor skill development. Children build skyscrapers for their cars and corrals for their ponies; while they play, they use language, incorporate problem-solving technique, and movement. Young children who are just developing the ability to form words are highly recommended to play with blocks and arts and crafts. Older children with limited vocabularies can benefit from the same toys because they use them in different ways, expanding their ability to form complex sentences and widening their vocabularies. The opportunities for language development are almost endless because open-ended toys don’t consist of one right or wrong answer.