Let's Toy Around!
Parent Circle|February 2017

If you thought toys are only about fun, think again. They can also provide your child with an amazing learning experience. How? Find out as India’s favourite toy maker explains…

Virgina Jacob

Toys are magical. They have the power to mesmerise a child, engage her senses, spark her imagination and make learning super fun. Who better to shed more light on this than the famous toy maker, Arvind Gupta, who uses everyday materials to create handmade toys. In an exclusive conversation with Parent Circle, Arvind emphasises on how toys provide for rich experiential learning in children. He also helps you with tips to choose the right toy for your child. Here are the excerpts.

Q What role do toys play in shaping a child’s mental, emotional and physical growth?

‘Play is very serious business', said a very senior psychiatrist. Children who do not play are unhappy and remain so even after they grow up.

Before children learn to understand, they need to experience, which they do by seeing, touching, hearing, tasting, smelling, choosing, arranging and putting things together, and taking things apart. Children gain experience of the real world by playing and experimenting with different kinds of materials, and learning to manipulate them.

Our hands, brain and heart are integrated. So, what children do with their hands helps them learn. But what happens in schools is that children learn through mere recitation. They do not indulge in any learning activity. Therefore, we must try and give our children a rich experiential base. That’s where toys help. Through toys, especially self-made ones, children can learn about the properties of different kinds of materials. It is a great and inexpensive way of learning. When children document what they have learnt in words or in the form of drawings, it leads to better learning. What they document is something they have experienced.

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