It will seem that, as a parent, there are a ridiculous amount of toys out there for your children and several companies vying for your attention to buy from them. It can be very difficult to decide whether it is best to buy online or in the toy shop, what toys to buy and which are going to be best for your child’s development. This blog aims to advise you on the best way to buy and the best toys to buy for your children.
I’ll be looking at the toy shop industry, the types of learning one might expect from the toys and some of my own experiences running an online and offline store.
Online vs. Toyshop
It may seem an obvious answer but shopping in a toy shop allows your child to help you choose something that will interest them. Our children can baffle us with their choices: if you pick something out on the computer that they dislike, then it becomes a waste of money. Going to the toyshop can also be a social, bonding session between you and your child. Looking around discussing the colours and different sections not only educates your child and gives them variety, but improves their social interaction.
Why choose traditional learning?
There is a huge breadth of toys available these days and it can be hard to know where to begin. Traditional learning is still a proven winner when it comes to helping your child’s growth as it can help improve your child’s intellectual, emotional and social development. Here are some examples of the type of play you can do with your child and examples of each:
Manipulative play: Example of manipulative play include inset boards, jigsaws, construction toys (large and small) and bead threading. These types of activities help to improve your child’s thinking skills, concentration, language development, visual judgement, hand/eye coordination and fine muscle control.
Creative play: Different types of creative play include paint, junk collage, drawing, chalking and modelling. These tasks can develop your child’s creativity, imagination, visual judgement, hand/eye coordination, non verbal communication and fine muscle control.
Physical play: Climbing frames, run about toys, tunnels, seesaws, balls and hoops are all great forms of physical play and help to improve your child’s body control, general muscle development, coordination, confidence and hand/eye coordination.
Imaginative play: Having a home corner in your home, playing at hospitals, creating a den, playing dress up, farms and garages are all brilliant for your child’s imagination. They also foster your child’s social skills, language development, problem solving, thinking skills, concept development, sequencing and fin muscle control.
You can also include natural materials to play such as woodwork, sand, water and clay to help concept and language development. Stories and drama in books, pictures, puppet shows and whilst playing dress up are ideal for all stages of development from concept to imagination to concentration. Finally, music helps to develop listening skills and self-expression.
Buying online vs offline
Online you can’t try out the products. The best thing about online shopping is the reviews. However, as a parent you might like to see and feel the quality of the toys and games you want to purchase for your child. It is only natural to want to do that.
Further, connecting with the staff at a local shop is far more interesting than going to a shopping cart. At junior Scholars we also run events to connect with parents, advising them and giving practical tips on helping their children reach their true potential.
We do realise that not everyone lives near a toy store, or even an educational toy store (even rarer), therefore buying online is the very best next thing to going into a shop. For the time poor, too, one can save time by buying online.
The author writes for Junior Scholars a business that combines an online educational toy shop with a retail branch in North London.