Animal figurines are open-ended toys that have been with us for centuries. Most children in preschool age, boys and girls, love figurines as much as they love pretend play. Animal models are one of the toys which timeless charm stays through generations. Not only figurines are one of the top kids choices, they also boost child’s development, creativity, imagination and much more.
Research shows: Animal figurines set scored highest among other selected toys in creativity and imagination, social interaction and verbalization. It was the highest-scoring toy for both preschool girls and boys, and also scored highly among children from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Source: TIMPANI Toy Study
5 Reasons Why Playing With Animal Figurines Is Beneficial For A Child
Animal figures were used as a toy in prehistoric times already. There is an evidence that hunter-gatherer children played with figures. So they have been with us for quite a while. And there is a reason why they are still around.
Play with animal figurines encourages and helps kids to develop:
1. Verbalisation and language skills
While playing with the animals children actively engage with speech and use it for role and pretend play with their peers. This helps to practice their language skills and verbalise their thoughts. Study shows that there is a strong link between "symbolic play" and language learning.
2. Creativity and imagination
Children have their own way of playing with figurines. You know that a toy encourages creativity and imagination when you see a child playing with it not the way you would expect. This happens a lot with animal figurines.
Unsupervised play with figures gives kids, so important, freedom to explore. The developmental psychology recognises that “unstructured play time” is critical in children's development of creative skills and commitment to problem solving.
3. Social interactions
While playing with animal figurines children are encouraged to collaborate with each other. This leads to more communication and social interactions.
4. Collaboration and life skills
Kids take great symbolic leap while playing with figurines. They can act out scenes and various situations this way learning and practising life skills. They can project themselves to be imaginary characters and interact with each other on different levels.
5. Learn about nature and animal kingdom
When playing children can show and share their knowledge about different animals and their habitats. The figurines can also be used as fun teaching aid when talking about animal kingdom.
If you want to learn about TIMPANI toy study, which looked at how young children play with a variety of toys in natural settings (mostly free, unsupervised play) visit this link: TIMPANI toy study.
- What prehistoric toys can tell us about human evolution
- Symbolic play connects to language through visual object recognition
- The role of play objects and object play in human cognitive evolution and innovation
- What the Research Says: Impact of Specific Toys on Play
- Ways to use animal figurines for learning
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