Toys and games to help children's learning including ball games, Lego and jigsaws

With children having spent more time at home in the last year than ever before, old toys and games have been rediscovered whilst toy retailers report increases in parents buying toys to encourage learning in the absence of school.

Toys and games can improve a child's communication skills, thinking and fine motor skills - meaning that if you're worried your children have spent more time playing than completing school work in the last few weeks or months there will still have been huge benefits to their development.

There has been an increase during lockdown in parents buying toys they think will help children's learning
There has been an increase during lockdown in parents buying toys they think will help children's learning

Penny Georgiou, director of Access 1st, which offer needs assessments, advice and support for disabled students, says play is extremely valuable at any age.

She explained: "Play is valuable in multiple ways at any age. This is because play sets creative foundations for the ongoing development of all skills and abilities, including handling emotions, creative imagination, accessing and experiencing embodied excitement, exhilaration, joy, satisfaction and laughter.

"It also gives a child an ability to pass quickly through emotions like frustration, anger and disappointment."

Online toy shop BargainMax.co.uk is amongst those to report sales increases in parents shopping for digital-free learning toys, particularly during last week's February half term holiday.

A spokesman said: "We’ve seen an influx of parents searching for toys that will help improve their child’s learning and development while they’re at home.We think this is great news, because certain toys can help improve your child’s communication skills, critical thinking and dexterity."

Brick building can help everything from motor skills to posture and dexterity
Brick building can help everything from motor skills to posture and dexterity

Regardless of a child's stage of development Penny Georgiou says there are age-appropriate toys and games which support development and learning and different toys will improve a child's learning in different ways.

For example, Lego and construction toys can help a child’s imagination, dexterity, focus, calm and patience while puzzles or jigsaws can improve a child's language skills, dexterity, posture and timing.

From trampolines to trains, musical toys to play-doh, Penny shares some toy suggestions and their benefits below...

Has your child spent a lot of time on their trampoline?
Has your child spent a lot of time on their trampoline?

Toys for body movement and co-ordination:

Tricycles, bikes and skatebaords

Trampolines and climbing toys

Ball games like tennis and volleyball

Jigsaws, puzzle style games or building blocks

Play can bring huge benefits to children and be educational
Play can bring huge benefits to children and be educational

Toys for communication and speech:

Music and singing toys can help develop voice projection and body awareness

Board games, card games and dominoes which enourage human interaction and aid strategic thinking

Dolls, teddies and other role play toys will allow children to enjoy imaginary play and social interaction

Teddies, dolls and role play scenarios should be encouraged
Teddies, dolls and role play scenarios should be encouraged

Toys for maths and science skills:

Bubbles can teach children about gases, vague states, structures and disappearances

Play-Doh and plasticine help motor skills but also understanding of shape

A cheap and simple pack of bubbles can teach children lots about the world around them
A cheap and simple pack of bubbles can teach children lots about the world around them

For social and emotional development:

Interactive and solitary ball games are helpful, say experts, because they are unpredictable and so generate emotion.

Alongside physical benefits these kinds of games can develop a child’s ability to handle sudden changes with skill and dexterity.

Read more education stories by clicking here.

For more family-related news from across Kent at www.mykentfamily.co.uk

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