As parents, we’re told that cause and effect toys are necessary for our child’s development. However, many people wonder what exactly this type of toy is and what are the benefits of cause and effect toys?
These are good questions and in this article, we’ll explore what cause and effect toys are and the benefits they provide for children of different ages.
What Are Cause And Effect Toys?
Very simply, cause and effect toys are any interactive toys that have a cause and effect component. These types of toys teach kids that every action they make has an outcome.
Let’s take a whistle, for example. Blow into the whistle and a sound comes out. This teaches the child that a particular action (ie blowing into the proper part of the whistle) will result in a sound.
Once the child repeats the action several times and gets the same results every time, they begin to learn that it’s their specific action that causes the result.
However, lots of things can teach a child about cause and effect. For example, a child will learn that every time they throw an object, it will fly into the air and come down again.
They learn if they stack blocks, what they’re building will get taller, and if they hit the stack of blocks, they’ll fall down.
So toys are just one of the many ways that kids can learn about cause and effect.
Benefits of Cause and Effect Toys for Babies
It may surprise some people to know that newborn infants learn quickly about one cause and effect and they don’t need a toy in order to do so.
Within a few days or weeks of being born, they learn that when they cry, they get parental attention. And generally the harder they cry, the quicker they get that attention they want or need.
Although babies may not be understand that they’re basically manipulating their world by crying, it does prepare them to learn about cause and effect.
For example, if you give a baby a rattle, they quickly learn that shaking that rattle will produce a sound.
Or give them a washcloth in the bath and they quickly learn that shaking it can cause water to splash.
But just what are the benefits of cause and effect toys for babies?
- Cause and effect toys help infants develop their gross motor skills by getting them to wave their arms and kick their legs more
- Cause and effect toys make them want to explore things and be curious about the world around them
- Cause and effective toys help babies begin to focus their eyes. When they try to reach out and do something like batting the toys on a baby gym. They have to focus their eyes in order to see things well enough to bat at them
- Cause and effect toys also help infants begin to develop their fine motor skills since they will learn that actions such as pushing a button will cause something to pop up or drop down or make a fun noise
So it’s the repetition of certain actions to get the results that infant want which help them strengthen their gross and fine motor skills, as well as help them improve their focus.
And it’s the development of these skills that will help a baby learn to do things like crawl, stand, and eventually walk as they grow older.
Benefits of Cause and Effect Toys For Toddlers
Cause and effect toys have even more benefits for toddlers than for infants simply because a toddler has more cognitive and physical abilities than an infant.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits cause and effect toys have for toddlers:
- Cause and Effect toys help toddlers further develop their gross and fine motor skills. For example, throwing balls strengthen arm muscles and climbing up a ladder to use a slide helps to strengthen leg muscles
- Cause and Effect toys help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination. Pushing buttons, pulling levers, etc. all help a toddler to develop their hand-eye coordination, as do using crayons to color and blocks for building
- Cause and Effect toys can help toddlers begin to understand that certain actions they take have consistent results. This is a huge benefit for toddlers because it’s the beginning of them understanding how things work
- Cause and Effect toys help toddlers begin to understand they can control certain aspects of their environment. This is huge for a toddler who often feels that due to their small size, everything is outside of their control. Giving a toddler the opportunity to see that their actions can make a difference helps them begin to become more confident and independent
- Perhaps one of the biggest benefits cause and effect toys have on toddlers is that they encourage them to experiment manipulating their world to see what will happen. This type of experimentation helps young children develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills
Toddlers can also learn cause and effect from things other than toys.
For example, if a toddler colors on the wall, your reaction will teach them such behavior will result in a negative effect that they may not like.
Then when they color on paper and are praised, they quickly learn that certain actions earn them praise.
This leads to them eventually being able to deduce that some behavior is acceptable and some
behavior is not.
Benefits of Cause and Effect Toys for Preschoolers
Preschoolers get even more benefits from cause and effect toys, games, and books because they can begin to comprehend that for every action they take, something will happen.
The ability to begin to clearly understand the connection between cause and effect can lead to the following benefits:
- Children begin to predict that certain actions will have a likely outcome based on past experience. The ability to connect ideas using prior knowledge will help a child be able to increase their ability to learn new material and take on new ideas
- Help young kids improve their socialization and communication skills as they explain their thoughts, ideas, and knowledge to others
- Encourages children in experiment in a scientific way by formulating a hypothesis and then completing the action to see if the outcome is what they predicted. If it isn’t then they can try to figure out why the results were different than what they believed would happen
- Cause and effect stories (aka Choose Your Own Ending books or Choose Your Own Adventure books) allow kids to clearly see the various results that different actions can lead to
- Cause and effect toys, stories and games help children learn to engage in independent learning for the sole purpose of expanding their own knowledge
As you can see, cause and effect toys have many benefits for kids of different ages.
Having said that, keep in mind that you don’t need to worry too much about choosing specific cause and effect toys because many toys that you buy for your kids will naturally teach them about cause and effect.