The Language of Toys
Children learn through play. The High Scope Preschool Curriculum used in New Hartford’s Preschool Program calls play, the work of children. “Learning to Talk is Child’s Play-Helping Preschoolers Develop Language” by Carolyn Ausberger, Margaret Martin and Judith Creighton is a wonderful resource for choosing specific toys for specific purposes. The authors break toys into five different categories summarized below.
v Toys for Reconstructing Reality-These toys allow children to recreate something they have seen or would like to see.
Examples include, crayons, paints, clay, blocks, also empty containers and old magazines.
v Toys for Experimenting with the World-These toys and materials act in certain ways depending on the laws of nature. Through these toys children learn about their environment.
Examples include, balls (When thrown up they come down.),
bubbles (Once popped they can’t be put back together.),
magnets (They stick only to metal.),
tops (They stay up only when spinning rapidly.)
v Perceptual/Motor Problem Solving Toys-These are toys that require some manipulation to solve. Children first see a problem, then plan a solution, then manipulate the materials.
Whether or not a toy fits into this category depends on the child’s developmental age and the child’s approach or use of the toy.Examples include, workbench, large snap beads, shape sorters, stacking drums and puzzles.