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What are the perfect toys for toddler play?

Pull out the paintbox, toolset or sewing kits for a day of preschooler playtime fun

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Oh the joy of colourful paints and an endless canvas of possibility. One of the great things about a toddler and a paintbrush is that, while he may still be struggling with the intricacies of the fine motor skills required for pencil control and finickety colouring-in books, he can easily achieve a brilliant result with a nice wide paintbrush and a huge piece of paper – you might even be able to pass off the resulting masterpiece as a Jackson Pollock or Cy Twombly.

The second great thing about having some time and space for your toddler to practise with his paintbrush is that, from the time he can put shapes into a sorter, any activity that requires him to post things through a slot, paint, draw, sew, thread or use child-friendly tools to ‘fix’ things will also help him develop crucial problem-solving skills. And with up to 70 per cent of school-time activities requiring fine motor skills such as these, these will all stand him in good stead when he heads off to school.

“Using their hands makes children more intelligent,” says eminent psychologist Dr Aric Sigman. According to a study conducted by Dr Sigman, the increasing amount of time children now spend playing on computers is costing them time doing traditional arts and crafts, and this is now threatening the intellectual development of children. “By using their hands, children gain an understanding of materials and processes and learn how to make informed judgements about abstract concepts,” he says. Playing with 3D objects and learning about their physical characteristics teaches children spatial reasoning skills, or how various shapes fit into different physical environments.

To help your child develop manual dexterity and fine motor skills, try activities such as modelling Play-Doh; using a plant spray to ‘paint’ plants; performing a finger-puppet play; playing join the dots or using stencils.

VISIT: Our wonderful world of play to discover why toddlers love shapes, how to improve those fine motor skills through play and how to encourage creativity, as well as the tools of the trade and lots more...


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This article previously appeared in Junior magazine as a print article

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