5 Tips for Choosing a Toy that can Unleash Your Children’s Inner Creativity
Parents realise the importance of creativity and its relationship with cognitive development, but a lot of them are unaware that toys can develop creativity. So, how are we going to choose the toys that develop creativity with the presence of ever-evolving toy making technology?
Before we delve into the topic, we need to understand what creativity is. Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something (Oxford Dictionary). It is not an inborn skill, it can be nurtured and developed.
Common elements for choosing great toys that can develop creativity:
Children have a better shot at immortalising their imagination into physical creation when they can easily tailor their structures. Just imagine your children in their focus mode sticking a piece of fischer TiP on a whole structure without realising that you step into the whole structure like a young engineer. Giving your children the freedom to personalise their structure with the suitable toys can empower them to design structures according to their imagination. Not to mention sharing their invention with you and getting positive feedback can increase their self-esteem.
Do not set rules or answer scheme that the children have to follow while playing because you are risking the children’s emotion. Always pick toys that allow them to build anything they want. That way, you are letting your children to feel emotionally secure to explore new ideas without the fear or judgement and failure. For example, if you give fischer TiPs to your children and ask them to build a house and one child builds a generic house while the other builds an English house, it does not matter because after all, they are still houses. Remember to give positive and supportive feedbacks to both of the creations.
Open-ended toys result to open-ended play. It evolves over time parallel to children’s desire to explore, create and solve problems while playing (Colleen Mutlari, NY Metro Parents). When children play open-ended toys, they realise that they are free to build anything, instead of feeling that they “should” build a certain thing. That’s the rush children feel when they play with fischer TiP, knowing that there are endless choice of structure or creations they can produce.
Each toy comes with its own play pattern. Its effectiveness in accelerating children’s learning development is the number of play patterns it offers. While some toys offer limited patterns, e.g Pet Rocks where it only involves designing and keeping as a collection, other toys offer a wider horizon of play patterns e.g fischer TiP crafting materials involve creating unexpected creature, designing great structures, moulding shapes, storytelling based on their creations and other patterns that can influence children’s imagination.
Improvise is to create and perform spontaneously without preparation (Oxford Dictionary). Children are prone to improvise their play when they are involved with open-ended toys. Believe it or not, unlike us adults, children find the process more enjoyable than the outcome (Andrea Atkinson, Washington University Nursery School). Low realism toys- toys set that aren’t related to any particular theme, shows or cartoons can expose children to bigger odds of improvising a new play or situations. There are some great games that promotes improvisation such as The Sims. It gives the player the liberty to make literally every single decisions- from picking up outfits and body size to deciding to make new friends or not. Non-computer game that allows boundless improvisation is fisher TiP. Children are able to form the crafty materials into a situation they desire and when they want to improvise it, they can always pick another fischer TiP and form it to their desirable shape.
Raising creative children is every parents’ dream. It is hard to choose toys for children but it is even harder to choose the right toys that develop their creativity. However, we can always try and experiment. While the children learn with the toys, we parents also undergo our own learning process for their betterment. Anyway, please share your opinions. Maybe there are things that we have missed out.
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