Educational Toys & Games? Blah! Here's Why This Term Bothers the Heck Out of Me by Kari Ewest
Educational toys. It’s the one phrase in the English language that makes me cringe every time I hear it. Don’t all toys have educational value? I wish people would see that there is more to learning than just knowing your shapes, colors, numbers and letters. All toys have value and teach children something. All toys are educational. Toys go beyond teaching the basics. Some toys teach empathy, compassion, problem solving and everyday life skills.
The other thing that annoys me is adults who tell children how they are supposed to use a toy or how not to use a toy. When an adult does that, he or she inhibits the child’s imagination and creativity.
I remember years ago when I was a nanny for this family before my daughter was born, and we had a play date at a friend’s house. The girl was 5. They played with Barbies most of the time while we were there. Her mother was upset because we went to this house and all her daughter did was play with Barbies and didn’t do anything “educational” that day. Say what??? She was 5. She played with Barbies. There was so much learning going on that day. From sharing, people skills, life skills, problem solving and more.
I remember another time that I was a nanny for another family, and the kids were only allowed to have educational games. Here again, don’t all games have value to a child’s growth and learning?
Here’s the problem I see with that term: When we label toys as “educational” we fail to see the value in all toys. Playing is an important part of a child’s growth. Playing is a child’s job. Play fosters imagination and creativity and so much more. It allows for a child to learn at their own pace.
What do you think?
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