Are “educational” toys for children truly?

If manufacturers are increasingly touting the educational virtues of their toys for children, children need to build a real freedom in their gaming activities.

To stimulate his Motricity, to discover the letters, to enrich his vocabulary, to reinforce his capacities of observation, memorization, representation in space or to develop his concentration … It is enough to cross the arguments of the manufacturers of toys to measure how game and Learning have become confused .

“From 9-12 months we can talk about educational toys for children in the sense that they are participating in the baby’s awakening and prepare gently for basic preschool learning,” says Nathalie Staron, V-tech Europe Product Development Manager, Which designs electronic games for ” learning by having fun ” .

Jean-Thierry Winstel, founder and CEO of Bioviva, who manufactures cooperative board games and educational kits, said: ” Between the days of our parents and ours, there is a real desire to find the best tools to promote self- Awakening of his child, a bit like one looks for a good cooking recipe . ”

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The evolution of education toys followed information on the development of the children.

This concern has taken root since the late eighteenth e century, reminded Gilles Brougère, Professor of Education Sciences at the University of Paris XIII. Under the influence of writers or pedagogues, the game has left the sphere of playfulness and pure entertainment to appear as a medium of education. In his view, this is an ” invasion of children’s play by adults, their interests, and their values “. The game has become “profitable”, provided it is educational. And contemporary school pressure has only accentuated this trend.

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In response to these injunctions, toy manufacturers are constantly designing the most appropriate tools. Gilles Brougère shows in his works that the evolution of toys since the 1930s in the United States followed those of information on the development of the child.

At V-tech, every electronic object, colorful and playful, possesses an ” educational relevance”, which varies according to the ” age ranges and stages of development” of the player.

“Mercantilism has clearly understood this desire of parents to want to do well”

Bioviva is positioned in a different way, that of self-fulfillment and self-confidence. Hence a set of activities to help her child to “improve her concentration”, “to sleep peacefully”, or “to overcome her fears”, as well as “Montessori” boxes, at a time when alternative pedagogies – Elaborated by this woman doctor – aroused a renewed interest.

“Mercantilism has clearly understood this desire of parents to want to do well,” warns Agnès Florin, professor of child psychology and education at the University of Nantes. There is no question of opposing the games between them (classical, electronic, digital …) but rather to ensure that they are put to good use. ” What counts is to let the child play freely with, without imposing rigid instructions that would brighten his imagination,” she explains. “There is real pressure from parents to have children master the numbers or letters very early. But creativity and oral communication are just as fundamental. ”

Skills that also develop in contact with adults during a walk in the forest or during a night spent staring at the stars. “Parents are not there to teach their children but to share simple moments with them,” said the researcher. Regardless of whether one favors electronic doll or wooden puzzle, the main thing is to make, as much as possible, a support of sharing between generations.

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What do you think about educational toys for children? Share your ideas below.

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