From the time babies are developed enough to grasp objects, play becomes one of the main ways they learn about the world around them. From infancy into kindergarten (and, some child development  experts argue, even beyond) play retains a central role in children’s development.
Adults may watch young children wistfully, wishing they could go back to a time when they were  equally aimless and carefree, but preschoolers’ activities that may appear to be purposeless are often very intentional attempts to learn about the world around them. Simple, well-constructed wooden toys, such as Hape toys, can enhance the learning process for young children.

Hape Band Set

Musical Instruments

Toys that allow toddlers and preschoolers to experiment with sound help them to learn about cause and effect while building a foundation for musical learning. Simple instruments that youngsters can manipulate independently provide opportunities for them to establish, for example, that a drum will make a sound each time they bang it. One of the big benefits of musical toys that have no batteries is that children must do the work of figuring out how to make the items produce sounds.

As they grow older and more sophisticated, repeated opportunities to play with these kinds of toys will help them progress to the point where they can deliberately bang out a melody using what they’ve learned about the workings of instruments such as xylophones or toy pianos.

Role Play

One of the big tasks of early childhood is for kids to learn about the adult world that surrounds them, and one major way they do this is by imitating the activities they observe. When they can enhance this exploration with toys such as play cooking sets or doctors’ bags, it’s easier for children to imagine themselves in the roles they want to imitate. On the other hand, if the toys include too many battery-powered “bells and whistles” – fire trucks that light up and have sirens, animals that make sounds – kids are less inclined to use their imaginations to recreate reality as they observe it.

Janod Pirate Puzzle


A big benefit of puzzles is that they provide opportunities for kids to learn about relative size and shape. Puzzles allow children to learn to translate their visual perceptions of shape into tactile reality,  ecognizing, for example, that the square puzzle piece will fit into the square hole. As children become more sophisticated, simple wooden puzzles can help to develop and reinforce concepts such as color, number, and letter recognition, animal names, and other concepts foundational to students’ later academic learning.

When it comes to toys for young children, less is more. One of the most powerful ways to support youngsters’ development is to provide them with well-crafted, simple playthings that leave room for creativity and imagination. Visit Toyzoo to check out a wide selection of Hape kids’ toys that will entertain and inspire young children.