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Using Toys to Develop Your Children's Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Magnetic World Map

When it comes to developing your child’s knowledge and understanding of the world there are all sorts of toys to play with and all sorts of things you can do with them. As stated in my previous article, talking to your child is vital: telling them about how the world works will not only be fascinating to them but will also help to build their general knowledge.  

Jigsaw puzzles provide multiple opportunities to learn. They develop problem solving skills, reading skills and, depending on the image, knowledge of the world.  Puzzles such as the Magnetic World Map with 92 Magnets and the Melissa and Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle provide multiple opportunities to talk with your child about the world and the planets.  Talk about the country you live in, places you have been on holiday and places that your family has visited. You could then talk about how to get there: “Could we walk there?” or “How would we get there?”  Jigsaws can provide a whole world of opportunities to talk to your child about the world.


Magnetic Weather Board Click on the image above for more details.


The BigJigs Magnetic Weather Board is a lovely toy that offers lots of learning for your child about the world and how it works. It teaches about time, the days of the week, months of the year and the weather. There is so much you can do with it with your child that I could talk about it for ages! The most obvious thing to do is to update it each day, but as your child grows older you can rearrange the days of the week or months of the year and ask them to put them back into the correct order. You could talk about what sort of weather you might expect in each season or talk about what weather they would want for specific activities. For older children you could start to talk about the water cycle and how it works and link that to the weather images.


John Crane Tidlo Oldfield Farm


Role play toys offer a whole range of learning opportunities, so much so that I will be writing an entire article about role play later. However they do offer lots of chances for your child to learn about the world so I couldn’t ignore them in this article. Many of them teach about the types of jobs that people do. Farm sets can be used to develop your child’s understanding of where our food comes from: Which animal lays eggs? Which animal makes the milk for our cereal? How do we get cheese and yoghurt? My particular favourite is the John Crane Tidlo Oldfield Farm. The Le Toy Van Fire station and Fire Engine set can develop an understanding of people who help us and what they do and could be used on conjunction with the Le Toy Van Car Playmat to encourage an understanding of other places where people work. Toy ships and castles can be used to begin to develop knowledge of history and what happened in the past, although this is a more difficult concept for very young children to grasp. However, they can be used when your children grow a little older to support discussions about how people used to live ‘a long time ago’.



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