The Click-A-Brick crew has applauded a recent article in the Globe and Mail newspaper that says less is more when choosing the best toys for helping children developmentally. Pared-down toys, the article says, can boost kids’ development and foster creative play better than toys with too many bells and whistles.
“Toys we choose in the early development years are crucial to the child’s education and development,” Toronto psychologist Ewa Antczak is quoted as saying in the article. “Young children are more open to learning and enriching influences, but also more vulnerable to developmental problems stemming from the lack of appropriate stimulation.”
She suggests buying toys with reconfigurable materials like building blocks and non-branded toys, as they promote unstructured play in children.
Vancouver psychologist Christopher Gibbins says in the article a child’s brain is akin to a muscle that must be used or it will become weaker and giving toys that allow for open-ended play with no accompanying storyline will allow children to better use their imaginations and help them with developing their creative thinking abilities.
“While children can and do use any toy to make up their own stories, branded toys suggest certain types of stories,” Gibbins says. “More neutral toys can be more flexibly used for many different kinds of stories. A simpler design may [create] fewer barriers to the child putting their own stamp on the toy, and may have less gender specifiers.”
Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say they are glad to see articles like the one in the Globe and Mail, as they serve as reminders to parents that simple toys are often the best for children, as they are the ones that stimulate children’s imaginations the most.
“At this time of year, we’re used to seeing tons of best toys lists and must-have toy lists that feature toys that are hot this year because they’re connected to some kind of movie or something, so it’s good to see these other types of lists that showcase the simpler toys and focus on what’s best for children and not just what’s popular,” Smith said. “We can all use a reminder of this kind when faced with the usual holiday onslaught of flashy and often noisy toys that abound at this time of year. We agree that the best toys for helping children developmentally are the ones that foster open-ended play without suggesting too much of a story for kids to follow, letting them use their own imaginations.”