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The Value Of Traditional Toys To Toddler Development

Jan 5, 2008
When children have progressed past the ball and rattle stage it is time to get them interested in toys that are a little more complex. Traditional toys offer many choices and the more colorful and noisy it is the better.

Pull-along toys have long been favorites of course and they have been developed over the years. It used to be a duck being pulled along making clacking noises or something similar but these days they come in many different guises. Chickens complete with chicks, dinosaurs, crocodiles, lions, you name it, its there. But there is another form of pull-along toy that is becoming more popular. The train set! This traditional toy has been transformed into the quintessential toddler toy by taking out the batteries and electricity. The grooved track is built to take a train and carriages. In the carriages come an array of animals or characters, depending on the theme, and add more fuel for imaginary games.

Of course, the train has to be pulled along and the attendant noise making and role-playing opportunities are endless. Some come in full circus mode - with giraffes, lions, tigers etc., - whilst others come in farm animal mode. School sets also make an interesting addition and can be used to introduce the abstract idea of attending school one day. Pull along toys are not restricted to the above. Many children like the idea of police cars, fire engines, tractors and trailers or ambulances - all without battery power - and have to be pushed or pulled along to make the lights work through a dynamo or clockwork style power generators.

Although a lot of toys have an inbuilt learning opportunity, let us not forget that play is absolutely essential for the child to communicate and interact with others. Sometimes it is not about learning but just about having fun. The problem with many of the electronic style games, and yes they are here to stay unfortunately, is that they do not encourage shared play. They also do not promote the imagination and many an hour is spent by young children, glassy eyed, in front of the TV. There is a place for these type of toys of course but at what cost to the development of the child? Perhaps the child could be restricted to a certain time limit for these kind of toys to encourage variety in their play times. In this way surely the child will get the best of both worlds and not lose out on either.

Don't forget too that you will benefit from playing with your child with a traditional toy. You can introduce and teach new movements and ideas along with engaging completely with the child. There is nothing that children like better than to play with adults and older children and gives a great opportunity for bonding.

Pull-along toys, as in most traditional toys, help in the development of the child. What is more important though is that they promote great, old-fashioned fun - what more could you ask?
About the Author
Gary Clay is an expert on toddler toys and manages stylish kids store Monkeyshine the home of luxury children's toys in the UK
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