Unleashing Potential: The Power of Educational Toys on International Education Day

Educational Toys

Unleashing Potential: The Power of Educational Toys on International Education Day

International Day of Education is acknowledged on January 24th every year. This day serves as a reminder of the transformative power of learning. This year, International Day of Education will celebrate the theme "learning for lasting peace". 

In December 2018, January 24th was announced by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of Education. The creation of this day was to highlight the role that education plays in peace and development, as well as advocating for inclusive and equitable quality education for all children across the globe.

As we celebrate this day, let’s delve into the role of educational toys and play in shaping young minds. Beyond traditional methods, educational toys offer a dynamic and engaging way for children to explore the world around them. 

The Role of Toys and Play in Learning:

Play is more than just a way for children to have fun and pass the time - it's a fundamental aspect of their cognitive development. Through play, our children are constantly learning. Play is the exploration of life. Children will play to investigate, make sense of the world and practice skills.

Educational toys provide a bridge between play and learning, fostering skills that extend far beyond the playroom. From problem-solving to social interaction, these toys lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. As our little ones are always learning (yes all the time!) you won’t always need ‘specialist’ toys! Lots of typical and traditional toys have educational elements to them!

Learning Through Play:

Children are natural learners, and play is their instinctive mode of exploration. Through play, they develop cognitive, emotional, and social skills. Whether it's building blocks, puzzles, or imaginative play, each activity contributes to their holistic development, preparing them for the challenges of the future.

What are educational toys?

Educational toys are toys that aid our children in learning, which could be learning about themselves, the world, or typical academic ideas (maths, language learning). Educational toys don’t need to be specially sort out, most toys can be used as educational toys!  Educational toys help children by engaging their growing minds! Here are some reasons why we love toys that aid learning!

  • Develops fine and gross motor skills
  • Improving social and communication skills
  • Strengthening cognitive development
  • Supporting their growing imagination

Types of educational toys 

Sensory Toys  -  Toys that engage children's senses and help them learn about the environment around them. Toys can incorporate all senses or focus on 1-2
Movement Toys - These are toys that get your little one moving! Helping to strengthen their gross motor skills, balance, and confidence 
Construction Toys - Toys that allow children to build and create. These develop their problem-solving skills, and help them to learn how objects fit together
Open-Ended Toys - A favourite here at The Kid Collective! These toys offer endless, unstructured play options - to be imaginative, create, discover and play! 

Helping your little ones on their journey to discover the world around them is such a fun experience not just for them but for you too!  

Educational Toys for Different Age Groups:

Educational toys for 1-Year-Olds:

As our little ones move from their first 12 months to the next, their play gets more fun and involved. At this age, children are learning how objects are used together, and their fine motor skills are developing, they can use their fingers to grasp items, put objects in and out of containers and love to stack toys together! In these early stages of development, sensory exploration is also key. 

Consider toys like the Classic World Exploration Blocks or Le Toy Van Sensory Shapes designed to stimulate the senses and encourage motor skills. These wooden sensory toys are full of sensory stimulating activities, that will explore sight, sounds and touch! Shake to hear a jingling bell, look through the kaleidoscope, and touch the fluffy fabric! These sets also encourage colour and shape matching too! 

To build and develop their fine motor skills, toys like the Le Toy Van Forest Stacking Animals & Bag, encourage children to grasp, manipulate and balance objects. The different shapes of the friendly animals provide one-year-olds with a fun yet challenging game. This set is also a great way to introduce new words to their vocabulary as you name animals or as children engage in storytelling.

A favourite brand for educational play is Tickit, their Rainbow Wooden Eggs are perfect for creative and imaginative play, children will love to use the eggs for holding, rolling, sorting, counting, colour matching and small world play scenes.


Educational Toys for 2-Year-Olds:

At two years old, their gross motor skills are more developed and they may be walking! As they're moving more, active play is needed much more! They may experiment with simple communication phrases and love imitating those around them! So incorporating speech into their play is great! 

Toys like the Little Dutch Cutting Fruit and Little Dutch Tea Set provide opportunities for imaginative play while enhancing coordination and language skills. These roleplay toys can help improve their dexterity and fine motor skills all while pretending to be like the grownups! This set can be used to build on language skills through repetition and question prompts.

Toys like the Little Dutch Baby Activity Walker or stepping stones from Stapelstein are great for encouraging active play, promoting balance, coordination and spatial awareness in a playful manner. Challenge your little one with the many engaging activities on our Little Dutch Walkers or for an more open-ended toy the Stapelstein range provide a creative base for all manner of play.

A customer favourite is the Yellow Door Yellow Door ‘Let's Roll’ range, with multiple themes these fun playdough rollers offer children a hands-on learning opportunity to explore new facts and expand their vocabulary. While they push and press on the rollers, they will also be developing important fine motor skills and creativity.

Educational toys for 3-Year-Olds:

At three years old, children are more able to understand the concept of counting and may recognise several numbers. They're more interested in role-play, and will engage in more independent play but are open to playing with other children and learning the concept of sharing! They are also refining the motor skills they learnt as a two-year-old - it's tough being three!

Building on their growing curiosity, toys such as the Bigjigs - Chunky Lowercase Alphabet Puzzle and Land Of Dough Learning Numbers Play Dough Kit promote early learning concepts, helping three-year-olds grasp basic colours, letters and numbers. The puzzle provides a playful base to explore sounds and can be used to aid children practice drawing letters, while the playdough kit offers a tactile, hands-on learning experience.

Exploring role-play more, the Little Dutch Hairdresser set has everything your little one needs to play stylist to the entire family! This fun set is great for developing social and communication skills, as they interact with whoever they are playing with be it family, friends or dolls and teddys! As well as being super fun, role-play toys are great for helping children to get into a character and act out real-life situations, which can also boost their confidence!

Educational toys for 4-Year-Olds:

At this age, children benefit from toys that challenge their cognitive abilities. Consider Petit Collage Our World Floor Puzzle and the Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot to foster problem-solving and creativity. These puzzles and games are great for building on vocabulary as little ones learn all about the world around them or as they collaboratively play with friends and family. The World Puzzle aids children while they learn the names of the different animals, continents and oceans. The Peaceable Kingdom range of games and puzzles champions collaborative play over competitive play, encouraging group problem-solving, and working together fairly as a team.

Through different games and activities, children will learn how to express themselves to others through body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. They will learn new language skills to communicate with peers and, through this communication, respond to others with empathy and perspective. All of these skills will support children with their relationship building.

Playing with others, whether with parents or other children, means a child will learn how to give and take, compromise and work with others. This can be fun and engaging for children, inspiring them to work hard and succeed at the game whilst going at their own pace. 

Toys like Janod Learn To Tell The Time Magneti'book or the  Little Dutch Puzzle Clock are perfect for introducing children to the concept of time and even learning to tell the time. The Magneti’book lets kids learn about time as they recreate a daily scene like breakfast and then match the associated time with it. The wooden puzzle clock has multiple opportunities for extended play - use it to learn about time, as a stacker, learning about numbers, colours and shapes.

Building on any letter learning they have developed, the Yellow Door Alphabet Pebbles - Word Building Set is a fun comprehensive set of tactile stones, that can be a first introduction to word building. These stones will engage your little one in play while exploring, sorting, collecting and word-making.

Educational toys for older children:

For five-year-olds gearing up for school, interactive toys like the Nailmatic Bath Bomb Maker Diy Kit or the Janod Educational Puzzle Human Body can reinforce foundational skills and enjoyment in reading, math, and science.

At this age devices like the Yoto audio player also open up fun and engaging ways to learn. We love the numerous functions packed into this small yet mighty audio player, from audiobooks to learning activities and more! Kids will enjoy building up their library and expanding their imaginations.


What is the Best Toy for Child Development?

The best toy for child development is one that combines fun and learning. Look for toys that encourage exploration, critical thinking, and creativity. Products like Connetix Magnetic Tiles exemplify this by offering a multifaceted approach to skill-building. Not only are they a great way for little ones to learn the names of colours and shapes, but they can also inspire creativity and aid the development of fine motor skills, problem-solving and more.

How to Choose Educational Toys:

Choosing the right educational toy involves considering the child's age, interests, and developmental stage. Opt for toys that align with their current skill level while providing room for growth. 

What Toys Do My Kids Really Need?

Finding the right balance between educational and recreational toys is key. While educational toys lay the groundwork for academic skills, don't underestimate the value of play for its own sake. Toys don’t need to be specifically marked as ‘Educational’ for them to give children a wealth of learning opportunities and value.

Do toys and play help child development?

Research consistently supports the idea that toys play a vital role in child development. Studies show that educational toys contribute to improved cognitive abilities, language development, and social skills. 

Children experience critical human development between birth and the age of eight. Play helps the early stages of brain development and helps your child build relationships with others around them. Play supports children in making sense of their surroundings, coordinating their mental and physical capabilities and finding their place. There are many different types of play which can benefit several elements of a child’s development. From role-play toys to educational toys and sensory toys, a parent or guardian can get many types of support to help their young one.

We recommend getting different toys and encouraging games which challenge and encourage their children to use their skills to succeed and have fun whilst sharing, being emotionally receptive and building confidence and independence.

Learn more about the Benefits of Play here

As we celebrate International Education Day, let's embrace the educational journey that begins with play. By integrating age-appropriate educational toys into our children's lives, we not only enhance their academic readiness but also cultivate a love for learning that will last a lifetime. So, here's to the power of play and the boundless potential it unlocks in each child.

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