Educational and toys and games

Every Christmas millions of parents search endlessly for the perfect toy for their child. The gift that is both fun and educational. They all hope that their child’s attention will be held for long periods as they learn at the same time as they play. There is an opinion that every toy and game stimulates some type of learning but there is no doubt that some are more educational than others.

Simple letters on Lock Blocks

The benefits of combining play and learning is not a new idea and since toys have become popular there has been a link between the two. In the early 19th century wooden blocks were popular for the very young as a number of different areas of education were covered by simply playing with this very basic toy. From the earliest times children have had dolls. They are of course educational as the children are taught how to look after imaginary people and even babies. Locks blocks were introduced in the 1700’s and were simply blocks with letters on them. This was a very basic form of teaching children to create words from the available letters.

As soon as jigsaw puzzles were introduced the opportunities to educate were endless. The maps of the world’s continents, countries and cities give some children their first taste of a geography education. The creation of pictures on the jigsaw has also stimulated children to go and away and conduct further research into a number of different topics. Some of the most popular toys with a close kink to education have been the constructive ones. They first appeared in the early 20th century and leading the way were Meccano. Patented in 1901 by Frank Hornby it was a model construction kit and it invited the child to put the kit together using a screwdriver and a spanner

Hornby was also responsible for model railway sets. Once again this toys provided the user great fun and an education in how to put the pieces together plus also giving a history of the railways.These early kits contained steel parts but advancements in plastic during the 20th century made the sets lighter, cheaper and gave more flexibility in what could be produced. The advancement in plastic model kits for various modes of transport is another good example of toys that had real educational value.

Meccano educating whilst constructing

The advancement of the 20th century saw the introduction of Science kits. Porters Chemical’s Company set was the first to be marketed in 1915. During their time they made as many as 15 different sets and soon other companies were following suit with Biology and Physics sets. As we have entered the 21st century there is a higher than ever desire to purchase toys and games that are both fun and educational. There are simple toys that still enter the market such as sewing kits that are aimed at the very young age group.

The clever use of simple guidelines with bright colors give the child an opportunity to learn about the basics of sewing whilst the child still views it as playing. A lot of today’s toys and games are closely associated with computers. But the accessibility of the world-wide-web gives children more that than ever the opportunity to explore areas that they previously had not had access to.

The contents of today’s average child’s Christmas stocking will contain gifts that would be virtually un-recognizable to children from 50 years previously. However, there will always be room for a book, or a Jigsaw, or a board game or any other type of toy that will be seen as stimulating the educational process. Over the years manufacturers have learnt that children do actually enjoy learning.

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