My love for miniatures and figurines is immense. It has become more so after I’ve seen how effectively they’ve worked in improving my child’s ability to learn as compared to learning from a 2D point of view in books or flashcards.
So, I keep my eyes wide open and whenever I find interesting little miniature toys, I grab them. Now, I proudly own a huge collection and they range from vehicles to animals and birds; fruits to vegetables and equipment to even utensils.
Here are 5 reasons why I feel 3D miniatures and figurines are an awesome addition to your child's toy collection.
3D vs 2D
A 3D manifestation of any object forms a better image in a child's mind as compared to its 2D version. With a 3D picture in mind, the child can then easily visualize that particular object from any angle, associate and recognize it immediately when seen elsewhere.
It is a well-known fact that a child uses all his senses while exploring and learning. With a figurine in hand, he can use his tactile sense in addition to the visual sense and may be the sense of hearing and/or smell too whenever applicable.
My son enjoyed watching and relating his aeroplane set figurines with the real aeroplanes and stairways on our flight to Goa. He could observe and point out the position of the jet engine of the plane, the wings, tail etc. on the actual plane.
When a child plays with a figurine and corresponds it to real-life objects or a 2D image of that object, his brain makes some brilliant neural connections, much more than what an adult brain can imagine or comprehend!
Once my toddler was watching a real cement mixer truck in action at a construction site with its figurine in hand and a book of construction vehicles alongside. I cannot fathom what beautiful, complicated images he must have manifested in his mind.
In another instance, he was just flipping a book on his own, saw fire engine in the book, and on his own went to grab his fire engine miniatures, started matching and then stacking too. All this, absolutely with no adult intervention.
Opportunities for open-ended free play and fostering creativity
By allowing children to play with such toys, we give them food for thought as to what they can do next with them. Their creative juices start flowing and one never knows what brilliant ideas they can come up with when they are left undisturbed (but not unsupervised for safety).
Once my son was playing with his vehicle miniatures and he realized all of a sudden that they can stand erect as well. There was a feeling of accomplishment on his face, which was priceless!
Figurines provide unlimited options for pretend play and differential learning in a hands-on way. For example, a vegetable and fruit set can be used not only as a recognition toy but also for a buyer-vendor pretend play. This broadens a child’s imagination and vocabulary. It also builds empathy for other people. Children can learn about managing money and simple maths while making a transaction. For an older child, role plays like these help teach concepts like fractions and weight.
Such unstructured, open-ended free play time is when the most important brain connections are formed.
There’s so much to learn and do with miniatures. For me, investing on them is any day better than spending on expensive, battery-operated toys that limit a child’s growing intelligence and imagination.
Source: All pictures in this article are original and belong to the author. Reproducing them in any form without the permission of the author will not be allowed.
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