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Toys may be used for a number of educational purposes. Some toys have incidental educational value,
while others are known specifically by the moniker of “educational toys.” Educational toys are typically built for and used by young children. One could make the argument that an educational toy is actually any toy. Most children are constantly interacting with and learning about the world. This definition is ultimately too broad because one could make the same argument about a rock or a stick as it is not uncommon to see a child play with almost anything nearby.

The difference lies in the child’s perception or reality of the toy’s value. An educational toy should educate. It should instruct, promote intellectuality, emotional or physical development. An educational toy can teach a child about a particular subject or can help a child develop a particular skill. The key difference is the child’s learning and development associated with interacting with the toy.

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More toys are designed with the child’s education and development in mind today than ever before. As parents and educators grow more sensitive to the real or perceived development needs of children, toy manufacturers seek to manufacture and market to these parents.

Wooden toys which tend to last for a long time serve to maintain interest and durability for the child especially if the toy becomes a favorite.

The term educational toy is often applied in toy advertising to promote sales to parents. Such toys are often more expensive than traditional ones. Indeed, the Early Learning Centre shop is founded on the premise of educational toys, and is more expensive than average. The packaging of many toys includes a table of skills and benefits imbued by the product. However, the actual developmental benefit of these, by comparison to a cheaper, simpler or more easily available product, is often unproven.

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