Play is the thematic embedding of this enthusiasm. It gives a context to the urge to explore. It is a motivating and self-reinforcing support and does not sanction failure. Toys are thus, per se, tools to convey (educational) content. If one adheres to this argument, one will inevitably come to the conclusion that, in principle, every toy is also a teaching aid. A doll teaches social interaction; building blocks teach logical thinking and physical rules; board games promote competitive or cooperative behaviour and logic; and balls train motor skills. Everything contributes ultimately to the child's wealth of experience.
Educational toys should complement schooling
A certain social insecurity favours the demand for educational toys: parents are increasingly reluctant to trust the state school system to make their children able to cope with future demands. They consider school curricula to be outdated and teachers sometimes overburdened and ill equipped for the digital world. Extracurricular learning is intended to compensate for these shortcomings and provide the child with advantages for the start of his or her (professional) life. The focus is on scientific skills, as well as new fields such as robotics and programming (also known as coding), which have, so far, received little attention from schools. Such toys, for example, are very popular because they are oriented toward the future. Parents hope that this will give their children the skills they need to navigate the digital world with ease. In Asia and the USA in particular, toys designed to give children an edge in knowledge or skills are extremely popular.