By: Michelle Yoder, OTR/L
As we head into the holiday season, our mailboxes are flooded with catalogs full of toys! If you’re like us, we want to give gifts that encourage play while stimulating the senses, fostering creativity and promoting exploration and discovery! Maria Montessori, a well-known physician and educator, said, “Play is the work of the child.”
So much development occurs through play. Play is an essential piece of childhood occupations. That’s why, at Fundanoodle, we take play seriously!
Through play, a child is learning to:
build strength and acquire motor skills
develop social cooperation and strengthen language skills
explore creativity and imagination
Toys are the tools in a child’s work. So, while you shop, consider the potential benefits of the toy. Does it get them active and moving? Can they make choices and use their imaginations? Will it promote turn-taking and cooperation or is it something that they can do quietly on their own? How will it make them feel? Will it provide a sense of accomplishment so that you hear, “Look what I made!”?
Also, look for those toys that can be used over and over in many different ways. We want them to ideate and motor plan new actions! Find the toys that kids will work to master! And, remember, kids love to do what they see us grown-ups doing! That’s why baby/nursery sets, cleaning/housekeeping carts, cooking supplies/grocery carts are on every child’s list! These toys are the ultimate tools for development and discovery!