It’s Not Just Child’s Play
The importance of playtime on early childhood learning and development can never be underestimated.
For the little person involved, playtime is ultimately a lot of fun. Although for us it looks like sunshine and lollipops (most of the time), playtime is in fact grooming a child for life!
According to Early Childhood Australia, “There is considerable research on the benefits of play for children’s learning across all areas of development. This includes physical and emotional outcomes, as well as fostering creativity and cognitive thinking.”
Help develop a child’s intellect
Help develop a child’s motor skills
Encourage a child’s emotional competence
Encourage a child to be active, thereby aiding their physical health and wellbeing
Enhance problem solving as well as negotiating skills
Give a child insight into how others feel and react and teach a child how to relate to and interact with others
Give a child a sense of freedom and creative outlet
Encourage quality bonding between parent and child when playtime involves the two together
Science shows that 80 per cent of our brain development takes place before we are three years old, and that by the time we reach four, 92 per cent of our brain has formed#. That is reason alone to look at quality play games for our kids!
Someone who knows this only too well is Karen, owner of Clifton Hill's beautiful Childplay toy store. A former teacher, Karen has been in retail for 19 years, nine of which have been spent running Childplay. The store has been operating for over 40 years promoting and selling toys that stimulate children mentally and physically, allowing them to create, play, learn and build their confidence.
See Childplay range
We asked Karen to share with us some terrific toys that are designed to be fantastically fun, and to also help your child’s learning at the same time.
Walkers – just prior to walking and early walking stages
Walkers are a wonderful way to get a little one ready for walk, and Childplay has been selling them since inception. They’re essentially trollies that help children get mobile, but still provide them with the balance and security of something to hold onto. In the early stages of walking you can fill the wagon with heavy items so it’s a bit harder to push. As your child’s confidence builds, lighten their load and watch them go! In no time they’ll be zooming about, taking their teddy along for the ride!
Bajo Snail Sorter - 1yr+
Another great seller is the Bajo Snail Sorter, a beautiful Polish toy that gives young children something constructive to do. They really have to apply themselves to this toy, but in the process they can be highly inventive. There’s also a great sense of achievement when they realise what they’ve done!
Dobbin and Drum Toy – 1yr+
Don’t fear – these drums are not going to send anyone deaf! They create a soft, muted noise (but just enough to get your little one excited) and are great for encouraging coordination and, of course, a sense of rhythm. Children can use their hands or perhaps a big wooden spoon, and drum away on these beautiful Australian-made drums until their heart’s content!
Orchard Toys - 3-8 yrs
Orchard Toys are our biggest selling game series here at Childplay. We find they are particularly useful for therapists, as the child can be engaged and play with the toy, and converse more freely as they go. They’re positive barrier breakdowns. They are also really great toys for encouraging cognitive development; there’s probably at least nine different types for varying ages that we stock here, including ‘shopping list’ , ‘spotty dogs’,’ bus stop’, ‘tummy ache’ and the ‘football game’.
Green Hat Planks – 5+ yrs
The concept for this toy originated in Germany, but these Green Hat Planks are made in Australia. The most incredible structures can be made from these planks. They are not only for the budding engineer or builder – they are a great social binder as everyone can get involved. Indeed, you can even find workshops specifically created around this toy! They are also a good life learner, so to speak, as obviously they eventually fall down and all that precision and creativity has to start again. Children learn quickly that things can change all of a sudden!
Lyra Pencils – all through childhood
Sometimes the simplest tools can be the most fundamentally important for learning. I often find that children who discover Lyra Pencils stick with them all through childhood – nothing else seems quite right after you’ve drawn or written with a Lyra. Made in Germany, Lyras are a richly tactile pen – they have a raw versus lacquered finish – and of such a high quality. The great thing about Lyra is you can come here and buy single pencils, or sets. Pencils like these are a gateway to incredible creativity and self-expression.