Have you ever seen kids hear that a toy is “educational” or “supposed to teach them something” and then get turned off to the toy and not want to play with it?
Toys that teach get a bad rap.
It’s unfortunate that there’s this anti-intellectual streak in our culture which equates learning with “not fun.”
My approach to this problem isn’t particularly sophisticated and probably doesn’t deal with the root of the problem, but I have to say I’ve had some success by simply not announcing that we’re about to do some learning. Just don’t bring it up. With a little luck, educational play is stealthily introduced right alongside “normal” play (I put normal in quotes because so much play in general has some sort of learning aspect to it).
This tactic is helped significantly by offering kids toys that teach – toys which are educational while also being irresistibly fun.
Animal Toys are Toys that Teach
After all, it stands to reason that if a toy is simply fun while also being educational, you’re going to have a much easier time getting a kid to play with it. No surprise there!
Animal toys fit the bill perfectly in this respect. Kids almost automatically pick them up and start playing with them. As I talked about in an earlier post, animal toys work great to meet the needs of kids as they move through various child development stages.
Animal toys go beyond meeting child development needs as well. For example, by simply looking at an animal toy, a child gains a deeper understanding of the animal, being able to recognize its defining characteristics in a way that will last a lifetime.
By playing with the toy and getting familiar with the animal the toy represents, kids start to ask questions about what life is like for animals. What do elephants eat? Where do lions live? How fast can cheetahs run?
Over time these questions become more complicated. Why aren’t there more wild animals in the world? What can be done to protect the environment?
Long story short, can toys that teach also be fun? When it comes to animal toys, the answer is most definitely YES!