Playing is universal. Throughout history, children in all cultures and all countries have played with toys. It is an instinctive component of human nature and a crucial element in growing up. Moreover, it is essential to a child’s physical, mental and social development as well as its emotional health and well-being.
However, changes in the way we live often distracts society from the fundamental importance of play. Increasing urban living, changing emphases in education and busier and more fragmented lives lead to less time for spontaneous play and creativity.
As the guardians and the gatekeepers of the toy industry in Europe, TIE and its members are acutely aware of the importance of play, and actively work to champion this awareness with European and national policymakers. They promote research and activities that highlight the value of play and the positive role of toys in the process.
The Value of Toys in Children’s Development
Playing is universal. Children play whether they are alone or with other people. They have vivid imaginations; toys are not essential in playing, but they can
greatly enrich the experience.
Play is a fundamental right and essential to a child’s personal development. Within this process, toys play a vital role. Toys fire the imagination, laying the foundation for improving cognitive and motor skills. They also help teach the importance of sharing, cooperating and communicating.
Toys are constantly evolving, reflecting our culture and our lifestyles. Manufacturers draw inspiration from the rapidly changing world, creating toys that help children use their imagination to understand and relate to their environment.
The Child’s Right to Play
Play is not a luxury. It is a fundamental human need like food and shelter. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises playing as a basic right for all children.
Children learn about themselves and their place in the world by playing. Research shows that early and diversified playing encourages language, reading and writing skills. Children in an environment that is conducive to playing are better adjusted socially and more cooperative.