One of the simplest toys, a set of simple wooden blocks is also one of the best toys for developing minds.[citation needed] Andrew Witkin, director of marketing for Mega Brands told Investor's Business Daily that, "They help develop hand-eye coordination, math and science skills and also let kids be creative."[20] Other toys like marbles, jackstones, and balls serve similar functions in child development, allowing children to use their minds and bodies to learn about spatial relationships, cause and effect, and a wide range of other skills.
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Research on the repercussions of gender in toys suggests that play should be encouraged to be more gender neutral in order to work towards a desegregation of the genders.[32] Too, researcher Carol Auster and Claire Mansbach promote that allowing children to play with toys which more closely fit their talents would help them to better develop their skills.[39] In terms of parental influence, a study found that parents who demonstrated some androgynous behavior have higher scores in support, warmth, and self-worth in regards to the treatment of their children.[34] Even as this debate is evolving and children are becoming more inclined to cross barriers in terms of gender with their toys, girls are typically more encouraged to do so than boys because of the societal value of masculinity.[26]
Pretend play is an essential part of a well-rounded childhood, helping kids develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. By the age of three, your children will naturally begin to engage in pretend play, and you can ensure this activity is safe and rewarding by providing them with a good selection of age-appropriate toys. Make-believe must-haves include toy kitchens and play workshops, costumes, musical instruments and active toys like blasters and water guns. As your kids spend more time and energy in pretend worlds, their understanding of the real world will grow, and the skills they acquire will benefit them for a lifetime.
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