In their first years of life, our children are like sponges. They observe the surrounding environment and assimilate a multitude of elements. They learn through various means like gestures, language, play. Playing in a constructive way, with the open ended toys, offers our kids the ability to easily develop their personality and skills. This is why the toys they play with have a very important role during their early years, and not only.
Parents, usually, choose a toy considering the age or gender of their child, his safety or the price of the toy. There is, also, another significant criteria that many parents overlook: the quality of the play. Toys should give the kid the opportunity to use his creativity and imagination, should engage him in problem-solving situations and encourage his learning ability. These kind of toys actually exist and they are called open ended toys. Now, you probably think that open ended toys are complex, big and expensive. Well, they are the exact opposite of all these. The toys that attract children to open ended play are, in fact, simple, safe and cheap.
Here are just a few examples of great open ended toys:
Building blocks/Cubes – they are the basic open ended toys. These are popular 3 year old boys toys. They offer the child limitless possibilities compared to puzzles, for example, which are closed-ended, due to their linear, one-problem solving feature. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, so they can be combined for more fun.
Molding clay – it surely lets your child’s imagination and creativity run wild.
Lego – not adequate for babies or small children, this very popular toy offers unlimited play possibilities.
Balls – with multiple textures, sizes and colors to play with inside and outside.
Creativity kits – which include an array of open-ended craft materials like: air-dry clay, googly eyes, feathers, pipe cleaners, felt pom poms, popsicle sticks, scissors and more.
As you can see, open ended toys are objects that can be used in various ways, not only in the way they were built (like shape sorters, puzzles, mazes and so on…), they engage the child through imaginative play and, best of all, they are timeless.