Almost all toys can be described as educational, each offering a physical, sensory or creative aspect from which the child can learn and develop. There are, of course, educational toys out there which have been specially created to help nurture childhood development, designed to support a specific development such as co-ordination or identification.But why are toys such an important part of childhood development? No child is born understanding the world they’re brought in to, so from day one they have to learn what things are and how they work. This makes it important to let children play and explore with everything to help build their knowledge and understanding.There are a range of educational toys all designed to help with the development of various vital learning skills. For example, infants particularly need sensory products which allow them to experience different textures and noises. These sorts of stimulating educational toys are great for infants to begin to understand how things fit into the world. For example, you will probably notice how babies love to drop and pick up; this is them beginning to understand gravity. Toys such as rattles allow them to find a connection between an action (shaking) and an outcome (noise), with push-pull toys again teaching them that they are initiators.Toddlers can then build on these foundations, and play with educational toys which help them to imitate more adult skills. Much more physical at this age, toddlers enjoy educational toys which involve co-ordination and experimentation, with it important to encourage understanding of the toys and activity they are taking part in. Allowing toddlers to express themselves, either through arts and crafts or dressing-up, enables them to be creative, and important tool to allow them to independently make choices.For pre-school and early primary school ages, the encouragement of turn-taking is important, so games should be introduced to allow the understanding of ‘fair play’ to develop. Much more social at this stage, pre-school children can use educational toys and games to help initiate social interaction, and can also allow parents to really introduce the importance of good and bad behaviour. They are also still building on their understanding of adult skills and knowledge, and enjoy identifying objects from the world around them. Animal and transport toys in particular are favourites amongst this age group, as they help to satisfy the child’s curiosity.Educational toys are important as they allow children to learn as they are having fun. Even as adults, we all know the importance of fun to help encourage interest, and for children nothing is more important than getting them to engage in learning and development. The development of skills such as imagination and creativity are just as important as skills such as fairness and knowing right-from-wrong, so providing children with a wide array of educational toys is essential.With childhood development taking place from the day they are born, children need toys from day one to ensure they are stimulated and encouraged to learn the next set of skills. All of this helps to make sure that come school-time they are equipped with the basic skills to support their understanding of lesson-based subjects.