Childhood games and toys

+ de 12 meses

There are things that it is not worth it to argue about; one of them is that children "must fully enjoy themselves through games and leisure, which should orientated towards the goals that education tries to achieve"(Universal Declaration of Child Rights)

Very seldom, except for games, are the conditions required by real didactic activity fulfilled. Play has been defined as an "attractive and substitutive process of adaptation and dominion". That is why it is very valuable as a learning tool, since learning is understood as the fact of facing and dominating different situations. The game is also substitutive because during the first and second childhood it is an introduction to adult situations (for example playing with dolls, role-plays, etc).

+ de 3 años

Rejecting play is depriving education of one of its most efficient instruments, according to Manjun, Föebel, Montessori and Decroly. These people have created some of the most important play materials for these ages. That does not mean, of course, that other age groups have to be excluded from play; what happens is that the game changes according to the general maturity of a child and the evolution of his interests.

Play is a global activity; that is why teachers should not try to separate games and work at the nursery schools, because it is not true that games are fun and informal things while work is a serious activity; at least not at these ages. There is nothing more serious for a child than play. Thanks to it, children develop their abilities. According to Götler "the more numerous the energies a child uses when playing, the more valuable a game is; and, on the other side, the less space it concedes to inventiveness and dexterity, the less worthwhile it is". Play is a creative resource in both senses: the physical one (sensory, motor, muscular and psychomotor coordination development) and the mental one, because the child uses all his inventiveness, originality, intellectual capacity and imagination. Besides, games have a high social value because they contribute to shape cooperation and help

+ de 3 años

habits in children and make them face problematic and real situations and, as a consequence, they lead children to a more realistic view of the world.

Finally, games are a mean of affective-evolving expression, so they are a very useful projective technique for teachers and psychologists when they want to learn about the problems affecting children.

This is why we have prepared this guide, to orientate educators and parents about how games and toys should be like. It is based on the necessities a child has during his/her development, from the point of view of modern programs for the development of multiple intelligences. To prepare it we have been experimenting and analysing different toys available in stores (toys that appear in this guide can be found in any store in Spain). We are very grateful to their respective firms for supplying samples to carry out this study.