Naturalistic observation is a type of research design where the researcher investigates an environment by merely observing and without interacting, engaging, or manipulating the setting in any way. Children learn about their environment and the world surrounding them through various games they play and their toys. When children play with toys, they develop vital skills necessary for proper child development. The environment that a child plays in has a critical role in their general growth and development. Therefore, toys significantly influence children’s growth and development by engaging their physical, cognitive, and psychological resources in an entertaining and exciting manner.
There are different theories on the effect of toys on the development of children. The Darwinian Theory proposed that children’s play gave evidence of the “recapitulation” of human evolution stages (Bjorklund, 2020). He labeled the play as object of influence, which replicates events essential for survival. For example, toys such as spinning tops have different impacts on children’s development; they encourage fine mortar skills and prepare them to face life’s hardships. The children learn this as they have to push each top with a certain intensity for it to spin.
Toys seem to encourage a wide variety of personality traits and styles of play during the developmental stages of children. According to Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development, children development depends on the type of environment they are raised in (Orenstein & Lewis, 2020). For instance, when kids play in an environment with toys, which promote aggression, such as machine gun toys, they are likely to be violent or hostile against other children.
Early preference in particular toys may provide a window into a child’s future occupations and responsibilities in society. Toys have a significant impact on children’s development as they play a vital role in developing the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial tendencies of children throughout childhood. A good example is pop arty toys, which provide children with several options to explore and create their imaginations, hence promoting their motor skills. Therefore, the use of toys helps toddlers to develop their minds. Moreover, children seem to be testing ideas and thoughts, developing hypotheses, and evaluating them using the toys. They tend to try to solve problems using the concepts and propositions they create themselves
Children learn how to socialize, experience emotional growth, acquire essential knowledge, and develop social and spatial expertise and awareness. The 6-in-1 town center playhouse can stimulate this, where children have an imaginary community, stimulating real society. The kids interact with “people” at various places on the toys such as gas station, gym, café, or neighbors. Consequently, they learn how to interact with other people in their lives.
In the children’s development concept, gendered toys are essential in the growth of different aspects of life. According to this concept, manufacturers of toys employ different strategies such as appearance to market toys, whereby blue toys are perceived to be boy toys while pink toys are girl toys (Cherney, 2018). Therefore, some toys are meant for young male children, such as construction equipment, and vehicles are also most likely to promote children’s positive cognitive development and improve essential problem-solving skills.
The kind of toys a child plays with and the number of toys is an essential factor that affects children’s development. When children are provided with fewer toys at their disposal, children stay engaged for more extended periods with a particular toy, allowing them to focus better and play more consciously (Dauch et al., 2018). Toys are, therefore, a proper recommendation in most natural environments to support all aspects of children’s development.
Toys that are fun to play with and have exciting and extraordinary features such as exclusive sounds enhance their sensory stimulation, auditory attention and grasping. For example, when tapped, the NogginStick produces a glowing light, which changes colors between blue, red, and green. These stimulate the sensory neurons as the child tries to track the lights using their eyes. The neuropathways developed with the aid of this toy are essential in developing reading skills.
Although toys have a significant impact on children’s development and help promote and develop their cognitive and psychosocial tendencies, they may harm the kids’ development leading to gender stereotypes. Recent studies emphasize abolishing the concept that certain toys are suited for a specific gender (Cherney, 2018). For example, the notion that truck and machine gun toys are meant for boys only will affect the children’s development. On the other hand, the investigation insists that toys should be of benefit to all children regardless their gender. Hence, it is advisable to avoid toys promoting stereotypical behavior among kids.
In conclusion, primary forms of toys encourage children to develop math skills, problem-solving and creative thinking abilities, which become useful later in life. However, toys can harm children’s development in terms of the messages portrayed on social issues such as racial inequality and gender stereotypes. These are the most severe and common negative impacts that toys may have on children’s development. However, this issue can be dealt with using neutral toys that do not promote and encourage these negative traits, which might be detrimental to the children’s development. Through toys, kids are educated that life offers them equal chances regardless of their gender.
Bjorklund, D. F. (2020). Child development in evolutionary perspective. Cambridge University Press.
Cherney, I. D. (2018). Characteristics of masculine and feminine toys and gender-differentiated play. In E. S. Weisgram & L. M. Dinella (Eds.), Gender typing of children’s toys: How early play experiences impact development (p. 73–93). American Psychological Association.
Dauch, C., Imwalle, M., Ocasio, B., & Metz, A. E. (2018). The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers’ play. Infant Behavior and Development, 50, 78-87.
Orenstein, G. A., & Lewis, L. (2020). Eriksons stages of psychosocial development. StatPearls.