Toys provide children with a safe way to explore the world around them and with multiple opportunities to learn at their own pace. Since our earliest ancestors invented games with pebbles and sticks, toys have had an important place in the educational process of kids. Even today, when our kids are addicted to screens, simple wooden toys can help them to stretch their imaginations and to develop the skills they need to have a successful future.
A Short History of Educational Toys
Although educational toys have been found in many different ancient settlements all over the world, the earliest written record we have about the importance of educational toys is from John Locke in the early 17th century. John Locke, a British philosopher, advocated for the use of alphabet blocks to encourage young children to learn how to read and write.
By the end of the 1800s, prominent educators like Friedrich Froebel, who founded the first Kindergarten, and Maria Montessori, who developed the Montessori educational system, had spread the idea that playing with educational toys is an important part of the fundamental development of children.
Up until the middle of the 1900s, wooden educational toys remained popular. As electronics became more commonplace in homes, simpler toys fell out of fashion. Today, more and more parents and educators are rediscovering the benefits of wooden educational toys.
The Benefits of Wooden Educational Toys
It is clear children gain a lot from playing, and play should be encouraged by adults. Unfortunately, most of today’s children spend the majority of their play time sitting in front of electronic games or a TV. Instead, parents need to encourage kids to play with more traditional educational toys:
- Wooden toys allow children the freedom to create. Unlike video games or passive TV, educational toys are usable in multiple ways. One day, a set of blocks is an ancient pyramid. The next day, a child can create an entire town.
- Wooden toys encourage kids to work together, whether it is to solve problems or just have fun. Playing with traditional toys is more fun when you include others. This helps children learn how to form and maintain relationships and lays a foundation for the complex interactions later in their lives.
- Wooden toys build transferable skills. Manipulating objects helps develop better hand-eye coordination and strengthens child’s spacial awareness. Many traditional toys help introduce everyday concepts like shapes, color and letters.
It is Never Too Early to Start
The earlier you introduce your kids to educational play the better the results. Children as young as three months old are ready for supervised play. The key to successful play is to introduce developmental and interest appropriate toys. For example, an elementary school teacher uses dowels for a peg board activity, “I bought the pegboard and am using the dowels. I am using the dowels to make a cross and then the kids are using elastics to make the shape.”
At Bear Woods Supply Company, we offer a number of other products great for educational purposes. Our blocks, wooden people, discs and tiles make a great addition to any classroom. We work to help schools by providing extra coupons and discounts on shipping. Explore more about educational toys and wood supplies by visiting our website.