Don’t Stress the Mess!
The Benefits of Creative Toys
Jacqueline Cucco is an associate editor at Adventure Publishing Group, where she writes toy reviews and manages the social media accounts for The Toy Insider, a site that provides parents, grandparents, or any gift-giver with the most up-to-date insight on toys and kids’ entertainment year-round. The Toy Insider also publishes an annual Holiday Gift Guide, which appears in Family Circle magazine. Cucco also contributes to The Toy Book and The Pop Insider.
- Say Yes to the mess! Because DIY kits are very hands-on, things can get messy quickly, but that’s okay. Let kids get their hands dirty while making their own slime or painting their own ceramic figures.
- Have kids perform a show. Parents can get involved in playtime by letting kids show off their creative accomplishments. If kids are enjoying a musical toy, get the family together to watch them play a mini concert. If kids are enjoying role-playing toys, encourage them to put on a play.
- Display the creations. Hang drawings on the fridge and showcase sculptures and artwork out in the garden, on a windowsill, or in the living room for everyone to see. Give kids validation that their completed projects are works of art.
Creativity is such an important trait to foster in young kids, and what better way to do it than through play? No matter what kids are interested in, there’s a huge variety of creative toys out there with elements of arts and crafts, music, science, and more. Although they cover a wide range of categories, creative toys all have one thing in common: they’re hands-on, encouraging kids to stimulate their minds with interactive play.
Kids can explore the arts with toys that encourage them to paint, color, and draw. That includes classic toys like coloring books, but also newer options like paint-your-own mosaics, sticker makers, DIY (do it yourself) jewelry, and pliable compounds that kids can shape into their own creations. Simple tasks like coloring, painting, drawing, cutting and pasting help develop fine motor skills in young children which in turn will benefit their “writing-readiness” as they enter school.
Kids can tap into their musical abilities with toy instruments, helping them discover rhythm and harmonies and how to mix different sounds together. Playing and listening to music has benefits as children begin to identify sound patterns and learn through repetition. The repetition in the music helps children anticipate what is coming next and they will begin to put the patterns in a sequence. By mastering these skills, children build the base of literacy and numeracy.
Science-based kits can teach kids important lessons about physical science, biology, chemistry, and logical thinking while boosting that brain power. Any kind of DIY kit can embolden kids to experiment and be more creative, which can lead them to discover more about themselves and the world around them. The progressive building of learning skills, such as paying attention and thinking enable children to improve their cognitive skill development so that they can eventually learn to evaluate, analyze and understand cause and effect.
Role-playing toys fit into the creative toy category as well, encouraging kids to stretch their imaginations to act out different scenarios. In addition to benefiting the more obvious communication and social and emotional skills, kids also gain a lot physically while running around in their superhero costume saving the day!