Why toys are important for infants? Scientists have found that children aged 3 have about 1,000 trillion synaptic connections in the brain, about twice as many as those in adults’ brain, and the number gradually decreases during the childhood. To the age of 14, the synaptic connections of children will be as many as adults’. Therefore, early education in infantile period is an urgent matter, which is related to children’s character building, establishment of IQ and EQ and potential development.
Parents should take scientific measures, implement vivid and lively guiding methods, improve the occasion, proceed in an orderly way and step by step, let infants acquire knowledge imperceptibly, and often keep a good mood, and protect and respect their curiosity.
In the development process, toys have been accompanying children and become an important way for children to know the world.
Froebel, the father of preschool education, called infants’ toys gifts and designed a series of toys to meet children’s developmental needs. The famous Italian educator Montessori held that the essence of children is work (activities), which is in essence playing, and toys are materials for children’s work. With toys, the work will not come to nothing, and children’s interests in the work can be aroused and thus they will concentrate on learning and operating, which is conductive to the self-construction and neural development of children.
The provision and application of toys are directly related to the learning effect of children. To care for children’s growth, we must pay attention to children’s games; to focus on children’s games, we must attach importance to children‘s toys.
The influence of toys on children is mainly manifested in the following aspects:
First, promoting the enhancement of sensory perception ability
Sensory perception is the principal pathway for children to learn external things and increase knowledge. In the early stage of development, children’s verbal ability is immature, the information obtained by infants is mainly image information gotten through sensory perception, and toys stimulate infants to get in touch with them using various sense organs with their vivid, exaggerated images and bright colors. In the process of playing with toys, infants touch toys made of different materials with eyes, ears, mouth and hands, which strengthens the perceptibility and observation ability of their sense organs, and promotes the enhancement of their sensory perception ability.
Second, promoting infants’ language development
In the process of playing with toys, infants are developing their oral language. The exchanges of toys and playing methods between infants make their language progress imperceptibly. For example, they often exchange like this, “Can I play with your dolly?”, “Can I join you in playing with building blocks?”, “Can I exchange my little piggy for your little duck?”, “Okay”, “Fine”, “I’m playing with it. Wait a minute”. The application of polite expressions can be found in the dialogue between two infants, who use polite expressions so properly!
In the process of playing with toys, a large number of soliloquy phenomena will appear in infants, and the emergence of soliloquies plays a considerable role on infants’ language development. In the process of playing with various toys, infants change the use of language with specific perception and movement and vivid, concrete linguistic creation, thus developing the language competence. Therefore, parents can use toys to train infants’ language expression ability.
Third, promoting the development of infants’ imagination
Toys have the characteristics of virtuality and symbolism and are marked by “pretending”, they provide a material basis for infants’ imagination activities, cause the resurrection of old temporary connections in the cerebral cortex and thus keep imaginations in an active state. It is easy for toys to reproduce the previous experience, stir up feelings in infants to enable them to carry out various imaginations, inspire infants to create and encourage them to imagine. Sometimes infants can indulge in their imaginations about toys for a long time.
For example, infants often present their toy dogs, cats, bears, rabbits and so forth to hold an animal sports meeting or build an animal kingdom. For another example, infants holding the doll in playing often imagine themselves as “father or mother” and will soliloquize: “Don’t cry, baby, let mom hug you, go to sleep”. These interesting games can activate infants’ imaginations and promote the development of their imaginations.
Every child has only one childhood, so parents should carefully choose proper toys for them and accompany them to grow up, thus they can have a happy childhood, which is the best gift for them.