Teaching With Traditional Toys

Children are quite curious and love to ask questions. They want to investigate new noises and explore a variety of things to touch. The simple things we take for granted, like the stars or the sky, are exciting new adventures to young children. Because of their eagerness to learn new skills, there are tons of opportunities to teach your child new information, school readiness skills, and so much more, simply through everyday life.

Teachable moments occur all throughout childhood. It may be as simple as discussing the states of matter with a popsicle to organized learning adventures, like a trip to a dairy farm. Many of the early learning skills developed during early childhood come about by recognizing and taking advantage of these teachable moments. Traditional toys are a great way to spark situations that can help you teach your child a number of basic skills.

Blocks are one of the best traditional toys for introducing a variety of spontaneous teaching opportunities. There are chances to discuss the effects wind has on structures of various shapes and sizes or you can experiment with the effects of gravity by stacking blocks in different ways. If your child creates a block city, he may be curious about community jobs or a fireman's role.

Traditional toys like dolls, dollhouses, and their accessories are also full of learning opportunities. As your child plays with her dolls, she may ask questions about feeding her baby that lead to discussions of the digestive system. You may have a chance to talk about stranger safety if a new doll knocks on the front door of the dollhouse. Most traditional toys encourage all sorts of occasions for learning!

Small cars and train sets are other traditional toys that offer plenty of learning opportunities during play. Explore the laws of motion together by rolling cars up a ramp, down a hill, and on a level surface, or discuss the role of trees in the environment as you build your train station. Most traditional toys can be played with in so many different ways that the possibilities for teachable moments are endless.

Traditional toys designed for outdoor play can provide a number of teaching opportunities as well. A child's curiosity seems to be at its peak in nature. Sand play can generate conversations about the water cycle and how it can create mud. Bubbles are a fun way to investigate the wind. Traditional toys designed for riding, like pedal cars or tricycles, are great for exploring nature and learning about things like the parts of a plant or even the life of a butterfly.

Books are also terrific traditional toys that can lead to a variety of valuable lessons. Reading is a great way to explore feelings and possible reactions to those feelings. Books can encourage discussions about unusual people and places, broadening your child's social understanding. Like many traditional toys, fabric books offer a wide variety of possible teaching opportunities.

Teachable moments occur everyday, even in simple situations like walking to the car. It is important to recognize these instances and make the most of them because this is how small children learn many new skills. Open-ended traditional toys can provide even more opportunities for you to teach your child through everyday life.

Stress Free Family Holidays Family holidays can be tons of fun, but if you plan to drive, it could also be quite stressful, especially if you have young children. In today's technological age of portable DVD players and handheld video games, it is easy to keep a child entertained in the car. On an extended drive, however, most parents would prefer their children do something besides watch television for the entire trip, but they don't want to deal with the boredom, fighting, and other common problems encountered while traveling with children. Frequent breaks and a handful of traditional toys and games are the keys to a successful and pleasant road trip with your kids.

Small children need plenty of time to move around, as well as chances to use the restroom and eat or drink. Schedule your trip to include rest stops at least every two or three hours, and stop for lunch if you will be driving all day. Pack a small cooler with drinks and snacks to satisfy cravings along the way or during breaks, and you may consider a picnic lunch or visiting a restaurant with a play facility. Pack a few traditional toys in an easy to access spot so everyone can stretch their legs at stops. Frisbees are great for quick, fun exercise and they don't require much space.

Between breaks while you're on the road, a variety of traditional toys and a few simple car games can keep the children content. Most traditional toys don't require batteries, so they keep the ride quiet and many are small enough to be played with right in the backseat. Car games are also a fun way to bring the whole family together for some on the road entertainment.

You may want to allow each child to pack their own travel bag with 2 or 3 quiet traditional toys to play with during the ride, but to really keep on the road boredom at bay, try creating a grab bag for the trip. Fill a bag with a selection of various traditional toys your children may enjoy, like small cars, card games, or activity books. You may want to wrap the small gifts to add to the excitement and schedule specific times or locations to open each toy while you're driving.

A grab bag full of traditional toys is a great way to keep your children content and happy on a long road trip. They will look forward to opening these special surprises, so be sure to announce when they can have the next toy to control a lot of questions in the car. Also announce your scheduled bathroom stops to make it easier to wait.

If everyone seems to be getting tired of sitting in the car, but you still have a while before the next stop or the next gift, initiate a simple car game. There are lots of games that involve license plates or you may choose an easy alphabet game using road signs. There are lots of car games that can entertain your family, as long as you consider the ages and abilities of your children.

Next time you plan an extended driving trip, leave the movies and video games at home and enjoy some old fashioned fun instead. Traditional toys and classic car games may make your drive just as fun and memorable as the holiday itself! Finding Traditional Toys In A Technological Age If you have visited a major toy retailer recently, you have probably noticed the huge surplus of electronic toys on the shelves. Toys that sing, tell stories, and even hold conversations line the aisles and computer toys are in abundance. You probably will not see, however, many traditional toys that don't require batteries or make some sort of loud noise.

Many of these modern electronic toys hold promises of all sorts of educational benefits and reinforcement of several skills, including phonics and math. The colorful designs appeal to children, while the lights and sounds are captivating. While electronic toys can be beneficial to a child's learning, a lack of traditional toys during playtime can be detrimental.

Electronic toys typically teach children to perform a task. If they are correct, they're rewarded with music or lights and if they're wrong they try again. Young children can learn from these activities, but their developing brains need stimulation to learn other skills too, like problem solving. Traditional toys encourage logical thinking, as well as creativity, and are vital to a child's healthy development.

Traditional toys invite children to take control of playtime. Instead of following exact instructions or choosing one correct answer, a child can explore a variety of possibilities and investigate each one. Electronic toys may offer several different activities, but there is only one way to play. Traditional toys, on the other hand, offer endless options because they can be used in so many ways.

Blocks, for example, can be roads, buildings, and houses in a big city one day. The next day they may be a huge castle surrounded by dragons. Traditional toys are open ended, so they promote imagination and creativity, which is something most modern electronic toys can not do.

Electronic toys are typically designed for solo use. A child who spends most of their time engaged in play with electronic toys, rather than a variety of toys including both electronic and traditional, will usually lack in their social development. Traditional toys invite children to play together. Board games, dress up clothes, and animal figures are all lots of fun for small group play. These situations teach children to share and take turns, to
cooperate with others, and even leadership skills.

While toys that teach children shapes, letters, and numbers are great tools to ready a child for school, traditional toys get children ready for life by encouraging problem solving skills, social skills, language development, and much more. Many traditional toys can aid in the development of pre-reading and pre-writing skills, as well as topics in both math and science like electronic toys, along with these other educational benefits.

Electronic toys are not bad choices for children because they can be educational and quite entertaining. Watch for toys with extremely loud sound because young children love to put these toys near their ears, and be cautious of packaging with lots of promises to educate your child. The best toys for learning are those that invite your child to play without instructions. Traditional toys teach much more than the school readiness skills most electronic toys are designed for. Traditional toys teach the skills necessary to succeed in life.

About the Author

Gary is an expert on wooden toys. He also runs traditional toyshop Monkeyshine.