Role Play Toys – Essential To Healthy Development
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When young children start to grow they become fascinated by copying and emulating adults around them. How often have you seen little girls or boys for that matter, putting on a pair of high heels and clunking around?
This is a recognized stage in the development of the child and as such should be encouraged perhaps with the use of toys which also mirror 'normal' life.
Many traditional toys are now being built to exacting standards. No more the bits of plastic welded together to simulate real life. These days even dolls have their own furniture and some are made to look exactly like the real, quality furniture you would expect to find in people's homes. Doll's furniture comes in many forms from high chairs to cribs, from wardrobes to beds – even bunk beds.
So what is it that makes children stay attached to this quite traditional style toy in the days of high tech gadgets? One reason is that the child can spend many hours making up stories and situations for the doll. The world of make believe stimulates the mind to imagine situations that may or may not have anything to do with every day life.
Dressing and undressing the doll, putting clothes away in the doll's own wardrobe, putting the doll to bed etc., all are enactments of the routine of normal living. With the doll furniture available today the child is naturally in its own miniature world of make believe. Some manufacturers have produced solid wood furniture, made from sustainable resources, to follow the 'green' theme that is very fashionable today. Indeed, there is also a range of Amish furniture on the market which looks so solid built that it could become a family heirloom!
The advantage of this style of traditional toy [http://www.monkeyshine.co.uk] is very obvious. The child is active and using its imagination. Instead of sitting glassy eyed in front of a TV screen waiting for the next advert, the child uses its brain. It recognizes that daily routines have to be followed and it can re-enact something that may be bothering it. Adults very often pick up on problems with the child by watching these role playing re-enactments.
Parents can actively join in and start to show by example what the child should be doing. Ie The mother will take a baby doll, bathe it carefully, dress it, and then put it to bed in the crib or cot. After this the clothes will be washed and put to dry etc., etc.
Some people would say that this may be forcing gender 'norms' on the child but psychological studies have shown that even children who have not been given gender specific toys still prefer the toy that is traditionally known as a' girl's toy 'or' boy's toy '. Perhaps the most important factor is to make sure that children are given a full array of traditional toys including role play toys, as well as the more modern techno gadgets. At least in this way they do not miss out on either world and with luck they will develop into well rounded, productive adults in the future.
By Gary Clay