Playing is important to children. It is the way they practice growing up. Toys are the tools children use in play. Toys can be purchased, or they may be as simple as kitchen pan lids or paper sack puppets. Anything children can play with safely can be a toy. In fact, you may have watched infants open presents and noticed that they spent more time playing with the ribbon and wrapping than with the toy inside.

Try to remember two or three of your own favourite toys when you were still a child. Were they ones you created yourself or ones someone made for you?

Toys can be divided into several groups, depending on the part of the child it helps to develop.


  • Physical or muscle development Toys: Wagons, bikes, boxes, puzzles, blocks, brooms, and shovels.
  • Sensory (touch, sight, sound, taste, smell) development Toys: Water toys, musical instruments, bubbles, play dough, and sand toys.
  • Make-believe and social development Toys: Dolls, dress-up clothes, cars, trucks, games, and books.
  • Creative and intellectual development Toys: Clay, crayons, paints, books, paper, and scissors.

Sometimes toys fit into more than one category. A wagon can help develop children’s muscles and also be used as the “ambulance” in a hospital game. Children need a balance of toys from each of these groups to ensure their whole development.

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