Back to Basics: Make Room for Simple Toys, Games
These days, it seems like kids are using technology before they’re even able to walk and talk. Although technology can certainly be an effective tool for learning and entertainment, simpler toys and games can be equally important for developing dexterity, problem-solving skills and creativity. If your home has an Xbox but no toy box, consider introducing some classic toys and games kids will love – no batteries required.
1. LEGOs (Ages 6-14)
Despite the pain that comes from inevitably stepping on one of these classic plastic blocks, no childhood is complete without playing with LEGOs at least once. This favorite kids’ toy was first introduced in the 1940s, and has evolved to become much more than a box full of blocks. Themed sets like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Spongebob Squarepants allow children to interact with their favorite characters. LEGO toys are also educational, because they introduce children to logical processes and engineering applications.
2. Battleship (Ages 8+)
Another way kids can learn about logical processes is to play the classic game Battleship, which challenges memory and critical thinking skills for kids of all ages. The ultimate objective of Battleship is to “sink” the other player’s ships, by using the process of elimination to determine where they are. Battleship’s grid structure also prepares children for reading and interpreting graphs and charts, an ability essential for success in school.
3. Play-Doh (Ages 3-7)
Kids can get in touch with their creative sides with this fun and colorful sculpting clay that encourages imagination and artistry. While building blocks can help kids develop engineering skills, Play-Doh allows children to think freely, mix-and-match colors for aesthetic appeal and dream-up designs. This classic children’s clay has an added benefit for parents, in that children often become absorbed in their “work” when creating Play-Doh masterpieces, giving mom and dad a moment to relax.
4. Scrabble (Ages 5+)
This classic word game is fun for both children and adults, and doesn’t have a set age range, though it helps if your child can read. Scrabble allows kids to practice language skills, from spelling to pronunciation, and ultimately improves their ability to read and communicate with others. By building words for maximum point value, children not only develop language skills, but strategizing skills as well. As children grow older and more skilled at this game, they may start to understand the concept of risk and reward; for example, knowing the odds that the high-value “X” tile is still up for grabs toward the end of the game.
Technology is undoubtedly an essential tool in every child’s educational development, but the simple, classic toys are also valuable for improving basic skills. Not to mention, you won’t find Play-Doh priced anywhere near as high as the latest tablet. Despite the shift to high-tech toys, low-tech toys are still valuable because they make learning simpler and more organically interactive. Your kids may be skeptical at first, but these classic toys earned their reputations because of their popularity with kids, so you can likely count on them loving each one just as much as you did.
Joseph writes this post on behalf of Sears and other brands he trusts.