If Amazon’s prediction of what the best-selling toys this Christmas will be, very little has changed over the years: the concepts of interactive play, role play and crafts appear to be firm favourites. Looking at this from a different perspective this year, Amazon has called their top holiday toy selection ‘Toys We Love’ and there is no guessing which brands remain prominent in their selection – Barbie and Lego!
Although the 1960s reflected a major increase in the choice of toys available to children compared to the previous decades, for a large number of us growing up in the 60’s, toys were modest and in many instances home-made, creating great imagination. Who remembers making cars from cotton reels and oxtail bones or modelling animals out of plasticine? Although simple, these toys and interactive play patterns would have assisted in the development of vital life-skills such as motor and cognitive competencies and very possibly aided in directing us in our career choices.
The research has shown that learning through play is an important part of a child’s development. Problem solving, language acquisition, literacy, numeracy and social, physical and emotional skills all link in with play. Make-believe games allow children to play out anything they wish and to become anything that they want to be. This also allows children to interact and negotiate with one another and to learn how to cope with feelings and solve problems.
The role of a parent today is more pressured that ever before. Voices call from any number of areas giving advice for where to go and what to do to influence ‘the best for your children’.
Toys will always form the backbone of a child’s development and it appears that certain brands are here to stay.