Learning with toys: More fun and creativity

Toys can be used to promote experiential learning in interesting ways and are useful in the teachinglearning of mathematics, languages, science etc. 

Published: 04th September 2020 08:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2020 08:54 AM   |  A+A-

Children, Kids

Toys are a very useful learning resource. (File Photo | Express)

Express News Service

Childhood is a time when one enjoys imagining the world beyond realities. Toys and games help in providing this joy. They take kids to their world where things happen on their terms; where they construct realities. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, “When I bring to you coloured toys, my child, I understand why there is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why flowers are painted in tints — when I give coloured toys to you, my chid ”. Toys are not just for entertaining, they play an important role in a child’s physical and mental development.

Toys have travelled a long way to arrive at their present form. They have existed in India since the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike the fancy, expensive toys gaining popularity today, traditional Indian toys and games were simple and took inspiration from nature. Toymakers, while designing these toys, thought about how a child would react to it and how it would apply to real life. Currently, the majority of children do not have access to these costly toys. Even schools are also not able to provide them with adequate toys to play with. Moreover, locally available toys have slowly been vanishing due to lack of demand.

Toys are a very useful learning resource. Toys can be used to promote experiential learning in interesting ways. They are useful in the teachinglearning of mathematics, languages, science etc. Toys can be classified into many categories such as rattles (dug-dugi, etc.); dolls (wooden and soft dolls); classic board games (Pachisi, Bagh Chal, Chaduranga etc.); bhatuki (miniature kitchen utensils); Outdoor games (Gilli -danda, Appa-rapi etc.); spinning toys (Lattoo, Firki, etc.); Dynamic Toys (Gravitational toys, Drum toys etc.); Walking Toys and Puppets. Toys can be used from preschool to higher secondary education. If a variety of rattles, spinning toys, puppets, stuffed toys can be used for children up to the primary stage, then toys such as board games, completing circuits, etc can be used for older children.

Benefits of learning with toys

Toys help children to connect with their culture. The use of traditional Indian games and toys in schools will make children connect with their heritage and will have a lifelong positive impact. Toys can also be used to teach many difficult concepts very easily exploiting a child’s interests and curiosity. They also help in speed up language development. Indian traditional games like – skipping, Gilli-danda, Sagargote (five stones), and many more don’t require expensive equipment and accessories. Playing conventional board games and outdoor games have always brought children together encouraging teamwork and social interaction.

Promoting the use of indigenous toys in education

We need to promote indigenous toys so children can have easy and cost-effective access to them. Schools need to have a ‘Toy Library or a Toy Room’. These following strategies may be used to promote the use of indigenous toys: Creating awareness: Curriculum may include indigenous toys as learning resources for preparing them to explain scientific principles behind them. Pre-school learning resource: Given the recommendations of NEP-2020 for promoting preschool education, the curriculum (to be developed) may include indigenous toys as learning resources.

Activities can incorporate them as well. Developing Skills: Toy-making can be identified as a job role under vocational education and following platforms may be used to promote them - Kala Utsav (a regular activity being conducted by NCERT): Indigenous toy-making can be included as a theme. Toy Hackathon (may be initiated under Samagra Shiksha): This can be conducted across the states/UTs like Yoga Olympiad with innovative toys to be given recognition and prizes.

Puppet Show Hackathon: This may also be initiated under Samagra Shiksha under vocational education for secondary and higher secondary students. Creating Archive of Toys: A competition for schools may be conducted on developing the ‘Archive/toy room’ or under Samagra Shiksha. Using Toy as a pedagogy: In the pre-service teacher education curriculum and also in inservice teacher education programs, the use of indigenous toys as a pedagogic resource may be added. Toy as a teaching- learning resource has the potential to transform classroom pedagogy.

Head, Dept. of Teacher Education & Incharge, Curriculum Group, NCERT


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