Toys are an essential part of growing up, and anything that a child plays with is termed a toy. A toy can be promoting creativity or boosting specific cognitive functions, such as memory, or problem-solving, and so on.
The recent increase in concern for gender-specific toys has been impacting the toy industry, heavily impacting sales, worldwide. That is not all, the definition of toys has changed over the years, with technological advancements and many children have abandoned all efforts to play, due to the constant and excessive digital stimulation. The recent concern may be valid, that children are missing out on key skills that were commonly taught around the globe, as necessary aspects of growing up.
Gender-specific toys; understanding the term gender-neutral
Play is how children learn. The act of playing out the different scenarios is an adaptation of the environment and activities that the children are living through daily life. Toys are then the key tools that promote, encourage and facilitate the action of playing. Toys target different types of skill-building exercises, like building blocks promote hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and problem-solving skills that are required for building everyday objects and items in the child’s daily life.
The main argument for this thought pattern is that children should be able to choose for themselves, what they deem as fun and enjoyable, instead of stereotypical toys for boys and girls. A girl choosing toys that are supposed to be for boys and vice versa should not be typically a problem except for the fact that societal pressure is strong to encourage gender-specific activities and thinking patterns from a young age. This due to extensive research and enhanced understanding of human minds has led people to question, if it is at all necessary for children to have a gender-specific role in modern-day and time when the lines are somewhat more blurred than 20 years ago.
That brings a lot of people to question what gender-neutral toys or games are. To answer that simply all toys for everyone; girls should be able to pretend to play war and love cars, truck and football, and similarly, boys should be able to play with dolls, and other toys, commonly associated with girls without judgment or hesitation. Gender neutrality can only be promoted by allowing both genders to play with all toys and even an activity box, regardless of the gender of the child.
Developmentally appropriate toys to promote different skill sets in children
It goes without saying that a child of five years of age, will not be interested in games that are specifically meant for children above the age of ten. Introducing a child to age-appropriate games is important as; the aim of the child playing in an unstructured manner is so that they can boost their self-confidence due to enhanced problem-solving skills over time.
Another factor to consider nowadays with increased digital interactions is that children are often not challenged enough in an interactive environment. For instance, fifty years ago, it was normal for children growing up to play a few board games that essentially support quite a few things for developing children.
Board games tackle different aspects of development such as logical thinking and strategy building for games like Monopoly; enhanced focus and patience, through planning and taking turns for a superior play. Collaborating with the other players also teaches children the importance of playing in a team. Critical thinking and resource management are two very important developmental factors that contribute much to the growing child’s need and how they handle the life around them.
Ultimately, the type of stimulation and learning toys we provide for a child will help them in certain sections of their lives. The idea is to provide as much structured, as well an unstructured play for a child so that they develop the necessary skills that are used most frequently in life, no matter which age they are at.
Development of critical thinking, practical and logical approach to challenges and finding proper solutions, promoting creativity, and superior motor skills are the backbone of necessary factors that contribute to a healthy life. Besides, children have access to a diverse range of knowledge through the internet and are no longer dependent on parents solely to learn, broadening the term, and learning.