Question: What is the importance of games and toys in the development of children?
Answer: Games and toys certainly don't have to rob kids of
their playing alone time. I believe games (the kind you purchase) and
toys have little relevance to healthy child development. Play, however,
figures prominently in healthy child development.
Play that is
child-initiated, child-controlled, and open-ended allows and encourages
children to process information and to make sense of their world. Any
toys and games that help facilitate this mode of play are a plus. Child
development professionals frequently express concern that kids don't
spend enough time playing in mixed-age groups. Too much of a child's
play time is spent in reactive play (video and computer games) as
opposed to creative play. And not enough time is spent playing alone.
kids need and use playing alone as their means of taking stock of their
thoughts and emotions. Being bored because adults aren't entertaining
them is a common complaint among today's youngsters. Where is the
incentive for kids to invent their own creative play if parents feel
they must keep them entertained and busy all the time? Jump-starting
kids creative play with some ideas can be helpful (for instance, playing
treasure hunt outside just when it's starting to get dark). Let them
use their imaginations.