The Benefits of Soft Toys for Young Children
Children learn about their world through play. This development can be enhanced by the toys parents provide for their children. Small children like things that are soft and cuddly and parents have provided soft toys as obvious play choices throughout time. There may be benefits of soft toys that parents have never considered.
The most obvious benefit is that no matter what shape, color or size, soft toys are usually cuddly and appealing to young children. They can hold them close and cuddle them. This warmth offers the comfort and security often needed when children are tired or placed in a situation of needing to cope with change. Soft toys become close friends, providing love and stability.
Soft toys also offer young children a chance to explore possibilities in a safe way. They can tug at them, chew them and even throw them around, all without any immediate harm to either child or toy. It is this flexibility and durability that is so appealing to the child. Whilst exploring the possibilities of how they can use their own bodies, children learn a lot about the changing nature of things around them through ownership of a soft toy.
An important part of children's play is the opportunity to develop emotions and in this area soft toys make an excellent choice. Children learn affection and bonding with a favorite soft toy. When they themselves feel sad, insecure or even happy, their toy becomes a confidant. They express their fears, secrets and joys to their soft toy and in return receive the warmth and security of something they relate to. Young children often transfer their own feelings onto their soft toy, and then proceed to comfort the toy. This helps children come to terms with how they are feeling.
Families are important in providing love and affection for children and teaching them the social skills of relating to others. Soft toy ownership is another way children can learn these skills. Young children who own soft toys develop social skills through role play.
Initially this may be simple love and protection, but eventually becomes more complex as the child is exposed to parental and family role models. When children are exposed to new situations they like to try them out on their own soft toy families. This may be a case of consolidating new routines, coping with family discipline or facing up to fears by telling a soft toy they need to be brave. Children consolidate the things they learn from families by teaching them to their toys.
Vocabulary development is also an important benefit of soft toy ownership. Children need to explore the new language they are hearing and learning. Soft toys will always listen, as children try out new words and phrases, as well as different tones of voice and expression.
Soft toys are safe, easy to care for and appealing to young children. Whilst they should always be considered as a toy, not an educational tool, soft toys have definite benefits in helping children explore their world and develop new skills. Children need at least one soft toy as their special friend.