Toys and Play in Infancy

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For a baby, an object that we adults term as a “toy” or an activity that we term as “play” has nothing to do with recreation. It is education. A toy is not something which can keep the baby “occupied” if it does not offer a learning.

Play is the chief way that infants learn how to move, communicate, socialise, and understand their surroundings. Play is an important part of the childhood development. Through play children learn about shapes, colours, cause and effect, and themselves. Besides cognitive thinking, play helps the child learn social and motor skills. It is a way of communicating joy, fear, sorrow, and anxiety.

Categories of play are not mutually exclusive; different forms or categories of play may overlap. An understanding of play in many forms can help parents understand its importance for children of all ages. Some specific categories of play are as follows:

·        Physical play.
·        Expressive play.
·        Manipulative play.
·        Symbolic play.
·        Dramatic play.
·        Familiarization play.
·        Games.
·        Surrogate play.

Play reinforces the child's growth and development. Some of the more common functions of play are to facilitate physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and moral development.  Toys are props for learning.