As a renowned psychologist, education consultant and the founder and head of The Harbour School, which specialises in customised learning, Dr Jadis Blurton understands the vital importance of play during early childhood development. Blurton shared with us exactly why a recent range of sustainable furniture and toys is so important, especially for families searching for something both stimulating and stylish. “Imaginative play is extremely important for the development of problem-solving, creativity, language and social abilities,’ she says.
Imaginative and beautiful pieces can teach children how to take care of things. ‘The most effective way is for parents to model that behaviour themselves. When toys are respected and each one has a place, children often observe and copy their parents' attitudes. If a toy is damaged or hurt, the natural consequence of a small loss with young children will help prevent larger losses for older kids who may have more valuable items.’
Blurton is also sold on the benefits of tactile toys. ‘They provide important opportunities for empathy as well as imaginative play and language development, but more importantly they often become "comfort objects" – non-judgemental friends with whom a child can share his or her feelings and understandings. Children who have cuddly toys are braver in the face of adversity or new situations than those who don’t, and they can practise solutions to potential problems.’