When it comes to gifting our children with the toys they’ll interact with, the decisions we make will also influence how they develop. It’s easy to see play as something that is necessary but ultimately useless, and yet, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Play can be highly worthwhile for children and their development, especially if it encourages creative and lateral thinking. In fact, play is one of the most important ways that children learn. It can also be a handy assessment tool. When you see ideas and content creeping into your child’s play, you know they have fully grasped and understand those ideas.
Think of your son or daughter playing with a dollhouse and simulating family life. It can seem like quite a simple form of play, but they’re actually engaged in something quite sophisticated and creative, slowly developing their imagination skills and everything that encompasses. They are also composing a story, learning communication skills, and playing with plot structure. We might see silliness on the surface when kids are playing, but their brains are very busy creating new connections and neuronal pathways during play.
But not all toys encourage this creative, open-ended type of play. The good news is that toys that encourage creative play and problem solving get a lot more use because they are more interesting. Whether you are buying a gift for a birthday or holiday celebration, look for the toys that encourage creative play.
Building Sets Gifts
Of course, nothing beats an interesting building set for your child to play around with as part of their creative approach. LEGO, while known as a great brand-friendly entity now, is best played with when using default bricks as combinational entities, helping children form structures, or even towns from the tools they are given. Building sets can also include toy sets that allow for scenarios to be imagined and enjoyed, such as castle sieges, or pirate ships with a whole miniature crew. Give a child the stage for their imagination and they’ll run with it. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll get involved too.
Creative Video Games
Those who see video games as a total waste of time which robs children of their creativity havn’t been paying attention to them. Games such as Minecraft offer such a varied creative approach that it’s hard to imagine any toy competing with them. From building your own structures to finding and handling resources to do so, as well as having the open collaborative space necessary for talking with friends and building projects together, the right games can help a gaming-savvy child to truly expand their creative skills. Other titles in this space include Dragon Quest Builders, Terraria, Starbound, and more.
It’s not a matter of whether video games rot a child’s brain. It’s about selecting games that cannot be played in a mindless way. Any game that makes them think or solve a problem can be a healthy part of their free time. Just make sure your kids are also getting time outside and plenty of physical movement. Video games cannot be their only activity, but they are not bad when used in moderation.
Transforming Toys Can Make Great Gifts
Transforming toys, like the Super Wings transforming astro toy, can help children learn about function and form, and also become inspired by creative thinking and design in the toys they play with. They can also inspire a level of creativity in terms of how they create scenarios to play in, and what that means when having toys interact with each other. As such, they provide ripe space for imagination.
Whether they are dolls, Lego people, or a bunny families, kids love playing with things they can turn into a world. Sets like Playmobil give kids the tools they need to unleash the stories in their heads. You can use your child’s current interests the guide you in what kind of set to pick out for them, and don’t be afraid to start small. You would be surpised how much time your child will spend with just a small set because it is a toy that lets their imagination do most of the work.
Dress Up Sets
Not all kids like dressing up as characters when they play, but some absolutely love it. If your kids like to dress up, a basic accessory, such as a cape, can be used in many different ways. If your kids like dressing up keep your eye out when costumes go on clearance after Halloween. Thrift shops can also be a great place to find costumes that were used once and then discarded.
When you think about what kind of gift your child would like, think about what they like, and then try to find a toy that takes those interests and also allows them to add in their own imagination. This will foster healthy, creative play, and your kids will spend countless hours with their gift, instead of playing with it once and then throwing it into the closet.