Can Educational Toys Replace Books?

by Rupali Rao, August 3, 2017
What a kid loves most? No points for guessing – ‘Toys’ is the answer. It is the first thing that comes to our mind. If you don’t agree, then take a kid to a toy store and see the excitement on his face, bounce in the steps, anticipation in the talks and amazement in the eyes. Another thing that kids enjoy a lot is books, especially books with colourful pages, images, stories etc.

Whenever I go shopping for a birthday gift for a kid, I am always in dilemma as to what to buy? What would be good for him/her? Should I buy a toy which has some educational purpose or should I buy I book, a wonderful world of knowledge and wisdom, wit and entertainment?

Toys are helpful only when they engage all the senses of a child and provide opportunities to enhance their understanding of the things around. Now a day, people are more inclined to buy toys that have some educational value too – ‘Educational toys’. Educational toys are designed to encourage specific learning areas, such as understanding of concepts like- shapes, colour, etc, mathematics, science etc. The purpose of these toys is not just having fun but also learn a lot of things while engaging themselves with the toy.

Examples of these toys could be shape sorter, which gives the toddlers opportunity to learn about shapes in a fun way, or blocks that provide an opportunity to learn about colours. Even telling them about a thing and explaining it to them in a practical manner can also come under the category of educational toys.

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Just like the toys, books also provide an opportunity for a child to learn new things, gain knowledge from people’s experiences, see the world in a new light, explore various emotions, and learn about history, poetry and many more things. Books are like a best friend who is always there to help you go forward, gives you the strength to stay strong, motivate you when you are down.
Both, educational toys and books help a child to develop. Let’s look at the major areas that they cover:
Knowledge: as educational toys are designed to promote specific skills they are one dimensional, more concrete and quantitative as in their end target is to make sure that the child has perfected that skill. They allow the child to try and do a thing in a number of ways before they fully grasp the concept. Books, just like an educational toy, allow the child to ponder over things they just read or heard. Their cognitive skills like thinking, problem-solving abilities increases which in turn makes them better equipped to deal with future challenges.
Reducing stress: both, books and toys are a great source of reducing stress. They both give a window to kids to forget about their worries and day to day struggles. Although, monotony sets in after some time when one is playing with a regular toy, educational toys give them a wide array of instances where they can use their skills to master a certain concept. Similarly, a good book is like a favorite memory that a child would like to repeat again and again. For example, reading about the solar system will be a process to learn a new thing, and making a solar system mobile (it’s like an educational toy) will keep the senses engaged, learning interesting and will have a practical understanding of what he/she has read.
Vocabulary development: there are many educational toys that are designed specifically for vocabulary building like, link and spell or flash cards for vocabulary and they do help in enhancing language of a child. Such educational toys help the child in mastering letter sounds and develop their vocabulary in an interesting and enjoyable way. There are a number of letters and words to work with, so the child can spend hours playing while learning. Likewise, books are like never ending canal of knowledge. The more you read the more new words you learn. When one is well articulate and is able to express oneself, his/her self-esteem increases which is a prerequisite in every area of life.
Writing skills: educational toys, e.g. hammer and peg, do help in improving a child’s fine motor skills, such as, fist grip, finger grip, and pencil grip, which is essential for writing appropriately. When they are constructing a project while doing a project, such as a simple science project where they have to use a pipette to drop a liquid on to some object, their fine motor skills are being worked on. The term writing skill also signifies the child’s ability to write their thought and emotions on paper using correct grammar, punctuation etc. Books give you the idea of how to write, how to express yourself, using appropriate words and organizing one’s thoughts.

Educational toys are a great way to make a child understand any concept in a fun way. It is a more objective way to make them learn new things. Books, on the other hand, are like a gateway to their imagination. They have the free reign to understand things in their own special way, question the concepts, ideologies, allow themselves to go with the flow, therefore increasing their critical as well as an analytical thinking process.
Therefore, I believe, that they both have a purpose of helping children gain knowledge and develop their conceptual thinking. And the combination of both books and educational toys can do wonders for the child.

1 Comment


    • B manish
      Reply Cancel Reply
    • August 12, 2017

    Awesome article... appreciated :)

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