What Makes Playing with Toy Animals so Attractive to our Kids?
By Ellen H.
Our children share an everlasting bond with their toys, especially the ones that they’ve received at an early age. The toy becomes an extension of the child’s inner world. They share life with their toys, the happy moments and the sad ones. The toy becomes the witness to the child’ experiences. Children feel a deep sense of companionship and often an extremely strong emotional bond with their toys. The level of confidence that a child finds in the company of their toys can be enormous. Stuffed animals, for example, help children feel safe, secure and, when they are alone, provide them with a sense of ‘being wanted’.
Toy Animals are a really great choice for children’s toys. If you are looking for a gift idea that a child will surely love, then animal toys can be the perfect choice. There are so many of them you can choose from that it might seem overwhelming to pick the ones perfectly fitting your child. Here are a few of the most loved animal toys:
1. Teddy Bears
Teddy bears and soft dolls are the most traditional stuffed toys. There is no doubt on how popular and beloved worldwide “the Teddy” is. They come in so many colors, shapes and sizes for us to choose from. If one thinks of a stuffed toy, the teddy bear is probably one of the first to come to mind. Most children love the fluffiness and comforting feel of hugging their teddy bears. Some psychologists even claim that a stuffed toy can be an object in which a child can channel his or her affections, and sometimes become a very close and trusted friend.
Children love to pretend play and to use their stuffed toys as their playmates, particularly if no one’s around to play with them. Try to observe your child as he or she plays with their teddy bear and you will discover a lot about their caring attitude.
2. Bath Tub Toys
To make bath time more fun, have a rubber ducky in the tub. Your kids will look forward to their precious playtime while taking a bath. They swim and dive with the rubber duck, and, when he doesn’t behave, they sometimes have to discipline him. If there’s a duck mom with her two little ones swimming in the tub, the role play can begin, when the child identifies with Mother Duck and “takes care” of the kids.
Among the marine animal toys the shark is one of the most popular ones. When duck and shark meet in the hot tub, the waters become turbulent and dangerous, and the adventure begins. Will sweet ducky manage to escape the obviously very hungry and very evil shark?
After all, there are no limits to your child’s imagination, right?
And while your child is focused on playing, it’s so much easier to give them a sponge treat, rubbing and scrubbing them clean, without any objection from their part (well, almost).
3. Jungle and Zoo Animal Toys.
The favored play scenarios for my kids with Jungle and Zoo Animals are the Safari and the Zoo Escape. lf your child has seen a few old safari movies or animations on TV, than chances are that he or she will try to reenact them with the toy animals. The rhinos will punish the hunters, until they say “I’m sorry.” And the elephants will rampage through their camp, so the hunters have no place to stay and have to go home. Although it might seem like copying parts from movies (“monkey see – monkey do”), there is actually more to it. Almost always we see an improvisation around the original theme, full of inspiration and fantasy. And our children are inside this fantasy, in another world that belongs entirely to them.
When possible, l try not to interfere until they “return”. And if l have to, because of circumstance or because play time is up, I try to lead them back gently, with a sentence or two, somehow summing up the play, and promising to resume it soon. Then they are okay with continuing tomorrow when a new adventure awaits. And if it’s bed time, they will dream of it.
The Zoo escape can be an even more dramatic version of the above. What l observed with my kids is that they play a combination of “Prison Break” and “Let’s demolish all the cars, and then get away from police”. The joined force of elephant, hippo, rhino and giraffe, enforced by lion, tiger and gorilla is always successful , of course, in accomplishing any task. Occasionally they fight each other. (“Who’s the stronger one?”, “That was stupid!” “Why don’t you never listen to me?”)
But sometimes all those animals are just talking to each other through the lips of my children, peacefully, without any visible action. They ask each others opinion, encourage each other, find the right words, celebrate their friendship. In these moments I feel serenity – something of a touch of happiness. And l hope you do too.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.
In case you’ve missed it: See also our post Kids and Dinosaurs – a Love Story.