It’s no secret that YouTube is a major part of children’s lives today — whether they have screen time while eating, after school, or before bed, it’s very likely that your child views videos online at some point during the day. While some parents compromise and only allow educational videos in their household, the question remains: are educational videos effective? It’s true that we live in a digital age and have access to more information than ever, so it’s natural to question whether it’s worthwhile to purchase educational toys for your child when they can ‘learn’ the same things from watching videos for free online.
Watching educational videos can have some benefit, but there’s nothing that replaces the learning experience of playing with an educational toy like a trinomial cube, for example.
Not convinced about the effectiveness of education toys? Take a look at some of these reasons why physical educational toys are better for young children.
1. Childhood obesity is a major problem
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the childhood obesity rate is more than three times what it was in the 1970’s. While a number factors can be blamed for this issue, a major contributor is the lack of outdoor play and exercise; children who sit in front of electronic toys all day won’t get an adequate amount of exercise. Supplying your child with toys like a Tactile Wavy Path Set will encourage more physical activity and a healthier lifestyle.
2. Motor skills matter
During the early stages of life, fine and gross motor skills are developed. Ergonomic designs of video games and cell phones might promote comfort, but they won’t help your kids to develop these important motor skills. Think about the feel of toys; consider how the feel of puzzle pieces can help kids to learn about shapes and how holding play tools or working with a science kit can allow children to use their hands. While the use of digital toys may not completely stifle the development of motor skills, it doesn’t promote them the way an actual toy would.
3. Electronics stifle imagination
Books, as opposed to television shows and films, do not create the images for you; instead, you have the opportunity to use your imagination to create those images yourself. Physical educational toys operate in the same way.
Having a visual experience while learning is powerful, especially since many schools use these methods in the classroom. However, an experience that is heavily or entirely visual can prevent your kids from using and empowering their own imaginations. Educational toys can help to promote your children's imaginative skills and promote the development of their creativity.
4. Digital toys can lead to isolation
Kids who are always sitting in front of a television, cell phone or tablet won’t get the necessary social interaction to develop the social skills they need. However, when children play with physical toys, they often do so with their siblings or their friends. Musical instruments are an excellent way to promote socialization and prevent feelings of isolation.
5. School could become difficult
Too much screen time has been linked to a decline in children’s attention spans, which can have a negative impact on their academic success. It’s important that children become familiar with the feeling of being without a smartphone or tablet at their fingertips because they’ll need the necessary skills to be able to listen and absorb materials in school. Electronic devices can overstimulate kids, causing them to become bored when they’re required to sit and listen to teachers in school.
Playing with simple, educational toys like a Multiplication Chart will work to improve your child’s attention span; it requires a high degree of attention and concentration, as opposed to educational videos that can be consumed without much thought.
6. Digital toys can hinder the growth of language
Think about the lack of conversation that generally happens when your kids are playing with their digital toys — there’s generally no conversation that accompanies watching YouTube, or playing an online game. As such, a reliance on digital toys could lead to issues with the development of your child’s language.
A major part of language development depends on how much your child reads, and what they read. While the use of electronics can inhibit the growth of your child’s vocabulary, using toys like the Small Movable Alphabet can help teach them how words are spelled and the sounds they’re comprised of, working to enhance their language skills.
8. Too much screen time can hurt
The effects of blue light that emanates from virtually all electronic devices can harm your child’s vision. Contributing to early-onset macular degeneration of the eye, too much exposure to blue light can also interfere with your child’s sleep schedule. Reading just before bedtime can help to rest and reset the eyes from all of the day's accumulated screen time, and calm your child's mind to prepare them for a good night's sleep.
For more information about the power of choosing physical educational toys, call Thinkamajigs at 800-363-301 or contact us here.