The Brain- and Body-Boosting Benefits of Action Figures, Dolls, and Toy Vehicles
You're always telling your kids to do their homework, read a book, or play outside. And yes, all of those things are great for children. But experts say playing with toys is just as important for creating healthy minds and bodies.
Toys help kids develop the cognitive, social and emotional, and physical skills they need in order to be successful at school and in life. And because kids have so much fun playing, they don't even realize they're learning. Here are some things children gain from playing with action figures, dolls, and vehicles.
- Early learning concepts: Playing with toy cars and trucks teaches babies and toddlers simple concepts like stop and go, fast and slow, up and down, and cause and effect.
- Language development: When kids play with action figures or dolls, they create stories that are often outrageous. Perhaps Barbie fell out of her dream house and Superman swooped in to save her, but then Batman showed up and they battled each other for Barbie's love. This type of narrative-based play strengthens kids' imaginations and speaking skills, ultimately making them better writers and readers.
- Concentration: Have you ever walked in on a child who was deeply engaged in a game of Ninja Turtles? That laser focus will serve them well at school and in their future career.
Social and Emotional Skills
- Role playing: Playing with dolls and action figures allows kids to try on different roles and personalities. One day they may be a soldier; the next, a fashion model. This helps kids get a sense of who they are and what they want to be when they grow up.
- Self-confidence: Pretending to be a superhero or Dr. Barbie is extremely empowering for children. This pretend play boosts kids' confidence and gives them a sense of control over something.
- Getting along with others: When children play together, they build important social skills like taking turns, sharing, negotiation, and cooperation.
- Self-expression: Playing with toys help kids work through their emotions in a safe way. Using action figures or dolls to act out a scenario they are struggling with, such as being bullied or adjusting to a new sibling, can help kids make sense of their feelings and work out solutions in their minds.
- Fine motor skills: Pushing cars along a track or leading small action figures through play scenarios improves hand dexterity and strengthens hand-eye coordination.
- Stress relief: In the same way a 15-minute coffee break or scrolling through a favorite website helps you unwind, playing with toys gives kids some much-needed stress relief. It helps relieve the pressures of school and of being managed by adults all day long. After all, there's not much that can't be cured with a good dose of fun and laughter.