Educational Toys Should Be Fun, Not Just Educational
When you play with your children, you probably would ask them what they want to play with. But do you stop and ask them how they want to play? Wouldn’t it be great if they are given the opportunity to have fun while also learning something educational? Of course, there is a never ending supply of fun educational toys to choose from.#JasperBean has always shown an interest in my DIY tools and would regularly try to
steal borrow mine. So I brought him some imitated plastic tools, but as much fun as they are. He preferred the ‘real deal’. So I bruoght him “Tap Tap Art” which consists of hammers, wooden pieces, a cork board and metal tacks. I had planned for us to play together whilst learning about safety, art and boosting his imagination and creativity. All very well, until he got the cork board out and forcibly snapped it. I was a bit angry when I saw that and my first reaction was to tell him off, but a little voice within me stopped me in my tracks.
I remembered about a year ago or so, I saw a mother and daughter in a play cafe. The mother was trying to teach her 4-5 year old daughter how to tell the time with the toy clock. It was one of those Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn counting clocks. It was colourful and fun looking and a really great entertainment for baby and toddler as it was interactive with songs, words and phrases. I thought “what a great and fun educational toy“, until I heard the mother suddenly scolding her saying she wasn’t “concentrating on her play” (玩得不專心). She carried on by loudly repeatedly asking “What time is it if you add 15 minutes to 6 o’clock?”. She continued to ask the little girl numerous questions with a straight face. It was as if she was an interrogator and the child just sat there quietly without a word and tears in her eyes. It pained me to see that happening, I just wanted to give the girl a cuddle.
Make education enjoyable
What I saw that day reminded me that I don’t want to be that parent. No matter how desperately I wanted my son to be extraordinary, I wanted him to be happy above all else. That experience woke me and allowed me to calmly explain to #JasperBean that cork breaks easily, so we need to be very careful when we are playing with it. He looked as if he understood and we continued to play. We completed creating an image with different shapes and colour together. Although there were some flaws, we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience and #JasperBean was very happy with what he had created. He would regularly re-visit the toy and mastermind his own creations and I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished.
The same goes with the Thomas’ Big Pop-Up Journey Book, the first few times he played with it, he almost flattened the entire town. Now, yes, I’ve had to stick it back together a few times, but he’s a lot more careful too.
Let them play it their way
Sometimes when I am playing with #JasperBean, I admit, I already have a preset way of looking at the “game”. I wish he has some form of educational take-away from it, but doing so, I often neglected his own wishes. This is not what I desire. I want him to have his own mind and his own idea of how he views play and how he wants to play. We are both very stubborn, but I know that by changing my perspective and looking at things from another person’s point of view will render different results.
As a mother, I always think I know best and want certain things for my child. However, the same really applies to them too. Take the broken cork board. Yes, he broke it, but it was unintentional, I probably should praise him for finding its weakness or characteristic of such a flimsy material. This wasn’t an act of malice, but curiosity. Furthermore, my purpose of getting him the toy is so that he can play with it happily, not get scold at through petty little things.
A Child’s View
Many a times, friends who have visited our home have commented what great toys #JasperBean has. But to him, the educational value of a toy is not how he ranks them, it’s whether he has interest in it and whether he can be creative with it. More importantly is whether someone (aka mummy) will play with him. I know I try to guide his choices, but in the end it falls mainly on what interests him and doesn’t drive me nuts. These are preferably toys that don’t contain a hundred+ tiny pieces, take up half the room and/or is battery operated!
Perhaps toys can assist in the development of a child’s skill and knowledge. Yet, if too much emphasis is put on it’s effect and results, then no child will enjoy playing with it. If they aren’t happy, then why bother, what is the point? So you will find 60+ Thomas the Tank Engine Trains of various sizes in our home, but he love’s it and I admit, I would probably end up buying more too! Sorry S!
Educational toys should be fun, but how you approach it is what makes the difference. Making the experience enjoyable will help them retain information and also develop a positive outlook towards learning. Check out my post about how babies and toddlers engage in different types of play here. Without further ado, here are some fun educational toys that we have tested and recommend:
Fun Educational Toys
Thanks for reading and until next time…
Love, MsMamaBean x
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