Other Toys covers a broad spectrum of play opportunities. From the self entertainment of solitary play to the social interaction of group play, Music, Games, Puzzles, Balls, and Creative Pursuits enhance early child development. Each offers multiple play possibilities and ways of learning, and address a wide range of mental and physical abilities.
Music benefits everyone. Children can create music alone or with others. Playing with music toys or musical instruments enhances social skills, refines both large and small motor skills, fosters early vocal development, and increases spatial abilities.
Some instruments provide multiple play experiences. The Ocean Wave Drum, for example, comes with a mallet and responds to being drummed with a tom-tom beat. Hand drumming with fingers or open palms creates different sounds. Holding and tilting the drum with both hands sends multi-colored beads scurrying around inside the drum. Experimenting with hand movements rewards musicians with a range of sound. Slow movement produces the whisper of a rippling tide and fast movement creates the crash of waves on rock.
By playing games, children develop social skills, learn to take turns and play by the rules, to focus on what’s happening, and to plan ahead. Games provide opportunities to refine skills and learn new words and concepts.
The versatile game 3D Feel & Find comes with a durable cloth bag that holds 20 wooden matching shapes and recessed tiles. With 10 geometric and 10 object shapes, play can focus on one or both categories, building spatial awareness and vocabulary.
To play, deal tiles and invite players to reach inside the bag to “feel and find” corresponding shapes to complete a pair. This is one game that finds sighted and blind children on an even playing field.
Early intervention specialists have found 3D Feel & Find invaluable as a set of 20 mini whole-object puzzles. Offer a beginner puzzler a matching tile and shape to fit together and take apart. Next, offer two shapes and one tile. Once the child has successfully distinguished between two shapes, add another to keep the learning challenging and rewarding. With 20 shapes the choices are many and varied.
With puzzles, children can play alone or cooperatively, developing spatial relationships, learning persistence, as piece by piece the picture emerges, and experiencing the joy that comes with ultimately solving the puzzle. Putting together a puzzle also provides opportunities to start, stop, then return later to pursue the activity further. Cognitive and communication skills develop as children explore and learn about what’s pictured.
Puzzles come in an array of styles and designs, from simple one-piece frame puzzles to complex multi-piece jigsaws. Most popular with the early childhood population are puzzles showing animals and vehicles.Sound peg puzzles reward proper placement of pieces with the realistic sound the featured object makes, a boon to the blind and visually impaired. Remove the batteries, and the puzzles lend themselves to adult/child interaction with the adult supplying the names and sounds and the child providing his own “sound effects.”
Being physically active is essential to well-being. Active play builds strength and improves balance and coordination. Playing with others develops social skills, and “getting good” at any activity engages our minds and improves our focus. Magic Moves, an electronic wand with 90 fun, physical commands and 26 musical styles gets everyone movin’. Children develop listening skills, learn to follow instructions, and gain an enriched vocabulary as they stomp like a dinosaur and swoop like an eagle.
Balls introduce a variety of material properties, textures, weights, sizes, and colors, and children learn words to describe these. From early explorations of grasp and release with lightweight Oballs to the cooperative play of tossing Jacob’s Rib-it Ball back and forth, children learn cause and effect and develop motor skills and eye-hand coordination. All this from the most basic of toys. No batteries required.
Appealing to adults as well as children of all ages and abilities, puppets lend themselves to adult/child interaction and to individual and group play. Puppets stimulate language and cognitive development and encourage imaginative play. Used during story telling and music time, puppets increase attentiveness and participation.
Art activities allow children with diverse abilities and interests to experience their own creativity and enjoy the process of discovery.Scratch Art and Wikki Stix offer nonthreatening, open-ended opportunities to explore possibilities, experiment with color, shape, texture, and space, and see what happens. We all have different visions. Artistic expression is a personal sharing of those visions. Along the way, we learn properties of materials and ways of combining different materials to create new and different. Spatial awareness and problem solving skills evolve while we develop an appreciation of composition and design for our natural and built environment.
Imaginative Play allows children to role play, creating their own worlds and letting their imaginations soar. Green Tea Set, named for its eco-friendly origins, is perfect for “brewing” pots of tea to serve family and friends, real and imaginary. These experiences prepare children for participating in family meal preparation and ultimately for independent living.
Scoots community vehicles allow children to re-create scenes from their neighborhoods and take on various roles in the community. A child can “drive” a fire truck and “fight” fires, “collect” recyclables, and “deliver” mail. With the addition of shoe boxes or blocks, she can build a town, complete with police station, fire house, and hospital.
Here at PlayopolisToys we encourage parents to reject licensed products in favor of open-ended ones that allow children to create their own story lines and adventures, not simply play out what they’ve seen on television. That’s why we offer classic wooden vehicles from Maple Landmark. We want children to fully develop their creative instincts.
Special Note Regarding Toy Safety
No two children are alike in their development, abilities, limitations, or personalities, and all these factors must be taken into account when choosing toys. What is appropriate and safe for one child may not be for another. Manufacturers label toys with small parts that pose potential choking hazards to children as being “not for children under three years old;” however, that does not mean the toy is, therefore, appropriate and safe for all children over the age of three. Those children, of any age, who continue to put everything in their mouths require special consideration. We urge you to consider carefully the children for whom you are purchasing and to purchase with their needs in mind.