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Playtime With A Purpose: The Importance Of Toys In The Cognitive Development Of Children

It is important for the toys to be sustainable in order to reduce the tremendous amount of plastic slowly killing our environment.

Reports show that 80 percent of brain development happens in the first three years of a child’s life. As such the toys given to them in that period of life are immensely important. No longer mere playthings, toys have the power to spark imagination, build self-confidence and allow kids to grow up to be creative thinkers. It is also important for the toys to be sustainable in order to reduce the tremendous amount of plastic slowly killing our environment.

A few new-age toy brands, started by mothers who were conscious of these changing needs, have begun to address these issues. Delhi-based Shreya Mittal founded Curious Cubs in May 2021, which is making headway in the space of cognitive development and sustainable production methods.

She explains, “80% of the brain is formed by age three, yet children don’t start preschool before the age of two years. We want to bridge that gap. Our vision is to become an early education platform from 0-3 years. We believe in playtime with purpose, as kids learn through play. We have designed products in collaboration with experts so that they focus on the cognitive development of babies.”

Multiple studies carried out across the globe have revealed that learning through play is a critical part of a child’s early development. Keeping this in mind, toys must be backed by scientific research and should have been thoroughly tested to ensure the highest possible quality. Another point to keep in mind is that toys cannot be too complicated so that children never feel overwhelmed. Mittal’s Curious Cubs designs its boxes with these factors in mind. The boxes come with a booklet to explain the science behind each product, what the child will learn and how to use the material contained within.

It is a well-known fact that plastic toys are extremely harmful to nature. The easiest and best way forward, therefore, is to produce wooden toys as they are both environment friendly and child safe. Mittal shares with candour, “A child should be allowed to explore the toy with all their senses, including their mouth. Mouthing is essential for development as the neurons around the mouth are strongest at birth, which is why children like to mouth objects – it is their way of exploring the world. Having a completely safe toy ensures that a child can play without reservation. Hence, wooden and cloth toys are the best options as they contain no chemicals.”

When it comes specifically to cognitive development, there are two aspects to focus on – ‘Learning by Doing’ and ‘Learning to Learn’. Unfortunately, in many cases people prefer to buy active toys, where the child presses buttons and receives immediate entertainment. While they may seem fun to play with outwardly, these toys don’t help with the development of essential critical thinking and fine motor skills. Passive toys, on the other hand, need to be manipulated by children and have the power to spark the child’s curiosity, encouraging them to explore and become active learners.

The toys made by Curious Cubs are passive toys inspired by the Montessori Philosophy, which is backed with over 100 years of research. They are geared to unleash the child’s independence, creativity, perseverance, and problem-solving skills.

When asked what sets her products apart from others on the market, Mittal says, “Parents are busy, and they already have so much on their platter. They shouldn’t have to spend hours researching on what a baby wants to learn at each micro-stage of development. Our goal is to take the guesswork out, and curate a box that contains everything a parent needs for each stage of growth. Every two months, a child develops a completely new skill set and has many developmental milestones, so we provide a new box to match where the child is as per that milestone. Our goal is to make the life of new mothers easier and take the guesswork out of this aspect of raising children.”

In India, it is still quite a challenge to instill the importance of early education in parents – not only are they worried about the higher price tag of wooden toys as opposed to plastic ones, but also believe that children prefer to have easy access to entertainment. This is simply not true. One must keep in mind that children love the aspect of learning as they want to understand the world around them. The best way for them to do this is to explore with the help of passive toys.


Tags assigned to this article:
Early cognitive development children

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