There are so many types of toys in the market that it can be overwhelming for parents to identify whether certain toys are any good for their young children. Often soft toys are viewed as an accessory and considered to not hold many benefits for children but is that really true? The Early Teacher is here to explain all things soft toy related, including how soft toys help a child to develop, and when they can safely be introduced to babies.
So, how does a soft toy help a child to develop? Using a soft toy can help a child to develop by encouraging them to use communication and imagination skills within make-believe play times. Soft toys also help children to develop their own emotional awareness by projecting their own emotions through soft toys to seek a reaction.
Keep reading to find out more about how soft toys can encourage child development, as well as why soft toys can be good for babies, and even whether or not they can have a positive impact on older kids.
How Does a Soft Toy Help Child Development?
Just like all toys, soft toys are hugely popular with children and often act as a companion to them which they hold onto for years and years to come. But, some people question whether soft toys actually contribute to the development of children at all. The Early Teacher is here to explain how soft toys do contribute to the development of your children.
According to A 2017 study, when a group of children are given soft toys to play with, they naturally begin to look after it as though it were a friend, and conduct activities such as reading to it and nurturing it. In doing so children learn to develop responsibility for their soft toy, relationship skills towards their soft toy, and even develop their own reading ability by reading to the soft toy.
Soft toys also help children to develop by allowing them to discover their personality. Through the use of imaginative role play, children can use soft toys to portray themselves and their unique personality traits to test how people react to it. This almost acts as a safety barrier for them getting to know themselves and allows them to explore who they really are without having to be confident enough to directly express themselves. This will allow them to flourish into their true personality and true self which will follow them through to young adulthood.
Whilst these may seem like small skills that children are developing, if you consider how they relate to adult life, these skills are extremely significant for the development of a child into an adult, and would be applied in everyday life.
Furthermore, a child psychologist claimed that soft toys can provide a variety of benefits to children and can even teach them some important lessons. We have detailed these benefits below to show you exactly how soft toys can help a child to develop.
Soft toys can help children to develop a level of independence rather than relying on being around their parents all of the time. This is an important skill which will help them transition into school life where they won’t have as much interaction with their parents. This independence will also contribute to their adult life with regards to future friendships, relationships and even how they work independently in a workplace.
Allowing your child to play with soft toys can also contribute to how well they can manage their emotions. When using a soft toy, children often engage in imaginative play whereby they can project and test their own emotions through the toy. By doing so, the child will get to see how others react to their emotions and how they can affect other people's emotions which is a key skill for developing into a young adult.
When engaging in imaginative play with a soft toy, a child is learning to create back and forth conversation whilst also hearing their own voice. Often they create a voice for the toy and create a conversation between themselves and the toy whereby they make the decisions. This allows for the child to learn and experiment with language, pronunciation and even accents which will help to develop their language skills ready for school and future adult life.
Often, when playing with a soft toy, children enter a state of imaginative play and enjoy taking on more controlling roles similar to what they experience with their parents. In doing so they begin to look after the soft toy, mother the soft toy and even sometimes pretend to feed it. This builds the child's confidence and shows them that they are capable of taking the lead in certain scenarios, which is a key skill that can be transferred to school life and even employment when they become an adult.
Why Are Soft Toys Good For Babies?
Soft toys can be good for babies mainly because they are made of soft materials which appeal to babies greatly. Firstly, because they are safe, but also because they love to play with different textures and colours. This can help babies to develop their hand-eye coordination which is a vital skill for developing into a young child.
Soft toys are also good for babies because they can help to relieve stress and anxiety by providing comfort to the baby. Where babies cannot verbally communicate when they are feeling a certain way, a soft toy can provide a simple relieving comfort to them and make them feel safe.
Soft toys can also help babies to develop their imagination through role play. Soft toys can be used in collaboration with parents to play make believe tea parties or make believe activities. This is beneficial to the baby because it helps them to delve into their imagination which is a key skill for developing into a toddler.
When Can I Introduce Soft Toys to My Baby?
Soft toys are the ideal kind of toy to introduce to your baby early on. This is because at ages 2-3 months old, babies can only see objects that are 8 - 12 inches away and learn alot through their use of sense. Therefore, simple looking, colourful and fun textured soft toys are ideal for encouraging babies to learn to play whilst also being simple enough for them to see and interact with safely at this young age.
At 4 months old, your baby will begin to be more interactive with toys, so having a safe soft toy that they can be playful with will allow them to have the freedom of play without you having to worry about little pieces falling off and causing a choke hazard. Soft toys with interesting textures are particularly great for babies at this age as they are learning to explore their senses even further which helps to deepen their understanding of hand-eye coordination.
At 6 months old, your baby will be exploring their hand-eye coordination fully and will most likely be able to pass a toy from one of their hands to another, therefore they will slowly become more able to interact with the soft toy. As a result, giving them a soft toy to play with will ensure that they don’t hurt themselves, they are able to handle the toy with their hand and you don’t need to worry about leaving them with it.
Soft Toys at The Early Teacher
The Early Teacher provides a range of soft toys to help entertain your children and encourage their development into an older child. Our range of soft toys have all been safety tested and selected with your child’s safety, development and enjoyment at the forefront. For more information on our soft toys be sure to take a look today.