Can you imagine a childhood without toys? Soft toys play an important role in a child’s development. This is not often obvious when your see your little tot chatting away to her quiet stuffed buddies, but it’s helping her develop all sorts of abilities. This affinity for soft toys begins quite early – squeaky toys, animal rattles and animal mobiles help babies’ co-ordinate their eye-hand movements. This is the reason why these make for excellent gifts for children right from the time they’re babies all the way to pre-school years.
As the child grows, stuffed toys prove to have a unique advantage over other toys since it resembles a living creature. This makes it easier for kids to relate to them and attach emotions to them. A child learns new words every day and this is why they’re often talkative at a young age. Talking to their stuffed toys helps them get comfortable with speech and improves their pronunciation too.
Children are curious of the big world around them while being intimidated by it at the same time. A stuffed toy becomes their adventure companion. This is the reason why they insist on holding their favourite stuffed toy when they sleep or while travelling. These are huge steps for little kids as their toys are a reassuring presence in these situations. Children scolding their toys, giving their toys time-outs, parenting their stuffed animals are their ways of exerting a bit of control in this world by imitating adults with role play. Unconventional stuffed toys such as fruit and veggie baskets and groceries helps kids familiarize themselves with the names, shapes and colours of everyday objects.
Contrary to popular belief, stuffed toys and dolls aren’t for girls alone. Boys too can benefit greatly by playing with dolls in terms of developing vocabulary and social skills. Other than that, you may often see young boys beat up their dolls or crash it into trucks – instead of being alarmed, consider this a great way for them to channel their aggression instead of lashing out at others. Similarly, playing with dolls helps little boys develop empathy and nurtures their emotional side.