When Is a Toy More Than Just a Toy?

A lot of adults think that toys are nothing more than the little plastic messes waiting to happen that children will either break or lose in a few days. But then, while this might describe a fair number of the toys a child will experience during their formative years, there are also other elements that go along with the toys a child will play with. These elements can make a big difference down the road, in ways that an adult today may not be able to foresee.

Childhood is a very complex time. A child goes from infancy, and essentially not existing at all, into a stage where they can do a large number of things without the direct input of adults. Childhood is the best and safest time for a child to make mistakes, primarily because the stakes are minimal. A child can lose their entire allowance, and this won’t get the lights shut off. A child can get into a fight and not get arrested. Still, however, the lessons a child learns are potentially very powerful ones.

The Lessons of Self-Control

 When a child gets angry or sad, it’s natural for them to lash out or otherwise outwardly display the emotions to their full extent. Adults have a hard time getting away with this, so some level of emotional self-control needs to be learned to function properly in society as a whole. For sadness, controlling when it comes out is vital to avoid being socially shamed. On the other hand, anger is another matter to deal with altogether.

Adults naturally understand that to be angry is different than to get angry. Getting angry and doing aggressive and potentially damaging things is very bad for a person in the adult world, and it needs to be avoided when possible, even for children. Society won’t function well with people going around breaking things and hitting each other. Because of this, a child needs to learn anger management techniques, such as deep breathing and channeling their anger into doing something more constructive. Sometimes, play, including displacement activities such as working through a situation with toys acting as both parties, helps children to understand and work with their feelings. 

The Lessons of Creativity

Being creative isn’t just about making a mess, calling it a picture of something, and then displaying it on the fridge for a while. Play and the toys a child uses to express their creative side are essential to learning how to solve problems, even when those problems are just how to express oneself and how to make a set of materials look a certain way.

Another lesson creativity and creative toys teach is to really see the world around oneself. It’s too easy to look at things but to not truly see them. In the toy report, a lot of knowledge comes up about how much a child can learn, simply through playing. Many of these are lessons that adults critically need, so they should be learned as early in life as possible.

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