How can toys be seen as educational?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of ways in which toys can be seen as educational.  The first would be that toys offer up an opportunity in which children can expand their imaginations.  In playing with toys, children can engage in "make believe" or situations where creativity emerges and thought processes develop into more transformative means as opposed to simply literal acceptance.  For example, when a child plays with Lego blocks, they can build and assemble different elements to construct and imagine different settings.  At the same time, toys can be used to "support cognitive growth, development of fine motor and gross motor skills, and improve problem solving and attention."  If toys lend themselves to be shared with others, interpersonal skills and lessons can be taught and refined, such as what does sharing resemble as well as how does one combine their own sense of individuality with that of the group and others.  These are lessons and educational ideas that can reveal powerful moments, "teachable instances," in which children can learn about themselves and their relationships with others.  In contexts and settings, toys can be highly educational and can reveal insight into the child's mind and psyche.

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