We all remember the simplicity of traditional toys like matchbox cars, toy soldiers, picture books, Lego, and games like Candy Land. Now, kids have the option of electronic toys like learning tablets, remote control robots, and electronic readers. The technology era has advanced toys from generation to generation. So which toys are better for your kids?
Research suggests that some gadgets can make parents less likely to engage in meaningful give-and-take with their children. Electronic toys don’t allow the parents to interact as much with their child like traditional toys do. Kids are so focused on the electronic toy that they vocalize less, so parents tend to stop talking as well.
A study published in JAMA Pediatrics showed consistent results with books and
traditional toys producing more words per minute on average than with electronic toys. Traditional toys also encourage kids to say certain words about the topic, like “A cow goes moo” or “The star is yellow”. Electronic gadgets may say these things for children, causing them to internalize and speak less out loud.
Some parents in the study expressed the fact that if a toy is doing the talking, they feel they don’t need to. It almost acts as a barrier for communication, which many adults can agree is an issue in today’s society with the constant use of technology. You don’t want the toy to replace you as the parent, you want it to be an aid in learning.
To nobody’s surprise, a recent survey shows that usage of touch screens and electronic items have beat out the traditional toys. About 60 percent of parents answered that their child uses a touchscreen device “often”. Kids are less likely to play outside, do arts and crafts, and play with physical toys. It’s important to know that these electronic devices alone are lacking in giving kids the mental, physical, emotional, and social skills they need. Children also develop by interacting with other children. This is more difficult with handheld games and electronic toys.
With the busy lifestyle of most parents, it can be easy to always choose electronic
devices for kids. There are surely benefits to both types of toys, and with most things, a good balance is important. We just have to remember that we play a huge role in a child’s development, and make sure we encourage it. Kids always need to stay active and expand their learning. Let’s bring back the excitement of family game night, the joy in reading a book with your kids, and the creativity of crafting, so that our kids can grow up to be well rounded adults and not completely reliant on technology.
Check out some great toys for Early Childhood Development
Here are some other great articles on this topic:
- Traditional Toys May Beat Gadgets in Language Development
- Classic toys struggle to survive in a digital age
- Dr. Toy Talks about Trends in Toys and Play Towards Technology
- Kids Are Playing With Screens More Than Traditional Toys, Survey Says