Toys are awesome. Every kid has to have toys. (Even adults love to have toys!) But in today’s fast paced society – are we going a bit over the top trying to educate our kids too much even when they are supposed to be ‘playing’?

If too much emphasis is placed on the educational side of play we could be taking the fun out of playtime and place unnecessary pressure on their little lives.

From my experience, it is very obvious that kids are learning ALL the time. They learn from our behaviour, they learn when they are eating, they learn when they are having a bath, they learn when we are shopping. Their brains are in gear all the time and every experience presents opportunity for growth and development. So the toy market is coming out with more and more educational based modern technology toys to focus on specific areas of development for our kids. That raises the questions: are we placing pressure on our little ones to advance beyond their years in preparation to excel at school? . . .Are we placing pressure on ourselves to afford the latest inventions? . . .Is the extra-educational concept worthwhile our effort? . . . Is it at all helpful to the child?

Kids that are going to school already knowing everything they need for the first year or so are no better off academically than those who have spent the first years of their life simply playing. Kids are kids right? Learning everything earlier will not necessarily give them advantage over their peers. You may still incorporate learning into their play, but to go overboard with all the latest fancy educational toys will not benefit them more than if you were to keep it simple (or “old school”).

The technology is changing at a very rapid pace. Human genetics is not. Think back to the day of the 40’s. What did they use for educational toys back then? Is what our toddlers are learning today a great deal different to what our ancestors needed to know back then?

I love the idea of “Play-School” style play. Using Egg cartons, cardboard rolls, paper plates. Waterplay with empty bottles, containers and washing up utensils. Making playdoh shapes with your hands and cookie cutters – not some automatic machine that cuts, shapes and finishes your creation. It’s the “inner grandma” coming out in me – but I can’t help but emphasise the enjoyment that kids get out of doing these extremely simple things on a daily basis. Give a child a cardboard box and see what I mean.

Try it yourself. Next time you think your kids are missing out because you can’t afford to buy them the latest invention that will supercharge their educational life. Use your own imagination. Whatever the toy is, ask yourself – what does it teach them? What skills are they gaining? How can you imitate that using everyday essentials around the house? You might just surprise yourself. And the kids – they will be blown away with surprise that their mum (or dad) is just as smart as the toy companies. Seriously – they will not know what they’re missing and the truth is – they are not missing out if you don’t buy every single educational toy in the shop. They will appreciate the basic stuff and express their gratitude in surprising you with their intelligence. After all, I don’t know if you’ve noticed – but a childs developmental progress is moving faster than the toy companies and while they might be fascinated with the “current” toy, it will be at the back of the toy pile before you know it and you’ll be up for another payrise to afford the next gadget. . .

Remember to always have fun! They are not kids for long. Let them be kids ‘old school’ style. You might just learn something.

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  • Although the kids tend to love the bells and whistles toys, they aren’t keepers for our kids. They play with them for a bit but come back to the old fashioned toys – board games, lego, outdoor games etc


  • Toys are toys, if they like playing with them, does it really do any harm if they can also learn sonething while playing? I think not


  • My kids have lots of both. They have plenty of fun, nonsense toys and lots of learning toys.


  • That was an interesting article! Thanks for sharing that knowledge!


  • I have children in a wide age span plus a grand daughter, over the last 30 years have noticed the differences in educational toys. My youngest two still enjoy the toys that their brothers 28-32 played with and I see no reason except for allowing them to learn how to use a computer that they need anything different. One toy has math equation on it a bit advance for the younger two, but my teen used it when in primary school. You press the button down to see answer, no batteries needed. These toys have stood the time and my grand daughter will get use out of them. The wooden blocks might need a new coat of paint but as they are 31 years old are doing pretty well.


  • I must admit I feel bad because I don’t do as much educational stuff with my kids as friends of mine do but I look back at when I was growing up and my mum did none with us. Times sure have changed!


  • yep i think that a mix is best! and make sure that you get in there and play with them lol


  • thanks for sharing


  • I also think a mix is best, lego will never go out of fashion and is great for many things, fine motor skills to name but one, a simple game of domino’s teaches number skills etc and it can be classified as educational.


  • I think it’s all about balance – a great mix of board games, books, on-the-floor playtime, some appropriate TV shows that sing and teach, and technology. In hindsight, I included all of these in my son’s everyday play and found myself enjoying them too.


  • I like toys where kids direct the play not where toys dictate how you play with them.


  • Kids need to be acquainted with technology from a pretty young age, but just playing for fun and laughter is also really good for them. Silly games like “Pick Up Sticks”, Hide & Seek, and lots of others are pure entertainment, and should be encouraged. Not everything has to be a learning tool.

    • True, hide and seek can be hilarious too. When playing this I took my (then) toddler behind curtains to hide. Couldn’t believe my husband couldn’t see the bump in the curtains and the feet poking out. We got the giggles! Eventually he found us – and he had actually been trying! Hilarious. Love playing freely and more structured games with kids.


  • Good information. Thanks for sharing.


  • It’s amazing what kids can do with a little bit of imagination


  • Good read thanks for the information


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