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    A toy is an object for a child (or adults) to play with, usually a replica or miniature of something. It has existed since before the century. Some toys even last up till now such as a ball, doll, marble, or board games. Though they have undergone some changes or modification overtimes, and they're not the same as the ones we see now.

    Throughout the times, toys have also had differences in purpose. For examples, in the ancient Roman era, children played small bow and arrow which they played as a way to practice how to use a weapon or in one of Indians tribe, children played Kachina doll to learn the myth of their culture. Then, in the 16th century, the idea of alphabet block rose, but the toy itself appeared in the 18th century. The purpose of it was to make children learned the alphabet through game/play. And it was the point when the educational toys started to rise.

     


    Other toys which made to help children learn, followed. The famous ones were Froebel Gifts and Montessori toys. From then on, the educational toys have developed rapidly and varied. Now, there are kinds of educational toys available in the market. Here are the types:

     

    STEM Toys

    STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The selling of STEM toys has increased in the past few years due to the rising of the parents' awareness of the importance of their kids to understand and master the STEM concept. The examples of the toys are:

    • Science toys such as primary science lab test, chemistry set, magnetic science, etc. The toys enable kids to do a hands-on science experiment. So they can learn science not only through visual which is from the science reading but also feel it with their five senses.
    • Technology toys: programmable robot toys, coding toys, etc. The toys enable kids to learn how to make an instruction (coding) for a robot or a computer program. It makes them have to use their logical thinking, cognitive and spatial skill.
    • Engineering toys such as building blocks and any toys which make kids have to build something whether the vehicle, robots, etc.
    • Math toys such as math operation cards, math puzzles, etc. The toys enable kids to learn math through game/play.

     


    Role Play Toys

    Role play is one activity all kids love doing since at a very young age. And there are many toys which make kids' role play become more fun and educating such as toys related to occupation props (firefighter costume, doctor costume and many more), cooking set, groceries set, stuffed dolls, etc.
    Playing the toys enable kids to learn about the world around them such as the characteristic of occupation, differences in people, and the social rules. It also brings out kids' imagination and creativity.


    Gross Motor Toys


    The toys enable kids to exercise their gross motor skills. The examples of the toys are the ball, trampoline, bicycle, balancing board, and many more.
    Playing the toys will make kids able to strengthen their gross motor, exercise hand and eyes coordination, learn to acquire abstract thinking skill. And the skills they get by doing it, later on, will support kids' fine motor, logical, and cognitive skills.


    Gadget Toys

    The examples of the toys are games application, interactive plush toys, interactive books, etc. The toys are similar to STEM toys. However, they include other educational subjects such as language art or social science.
    The toys enable kids to learn about the alphabet, gain vocabularies, gain knowledge about social facts, etc.


    Art & Craft Toys

    The toys enable kids to get the stimulation for their five senses, exercise kids' fine motor, and bring out kids' imagination and creativity. The examples of the toys are many such as play-dough, drawing board, sewing kit, greeting card making, paper-quilling jewelry, and lots more.

     


    If you've read the types above, you may think that those include almost all kids’ toys. If you think so, you're not wrong. All kids’ toys actually can be educational.
    So what makes it different from the non-educational toys? The difference lays in the purpose of playing the toys in the beginning. For example, if a kid arranges the beads to make a bracelet as he/she wants to, that's craft play. It will be educational play if we teach/ask a kid to make a bracelet by following the pattern because we want him/her learns to follow instructions/recognize a pattern, Then, if a kid does role play using a panda doll based on his/her pure imagination, it means he/she does imaginative play. But, if he plays the panda doll and says that the panda lives in the jungle and eats bamboo, it means he has done educational role play.


    Therefore, when a toy has an educational purpose/concept which meant for kids to understand and learn, that toy is an educational toy. We can use any toys and change them into educational ones. However, we have to set the concept ourselves. If it's difficult for us to do so, choose the toys which provide instructions which include the educational purpose/concept. That way our kids can play based on it and learn a lesson material along the way. Eventually, they develop their play based on the knowledge they have gained and want to learn/seek more knowledge. And this is the ultimate goal of the educational toys.

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