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American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Available online at http://www.iasir.net

ISSN (Print): 2328-3734, ISSN (Online): 2328-3696, ISSN (CD-ROM): 2328-3688 AIJRHASS is a refereed, indexed, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary and open access journal published by International Association of Scientific Innovation and Research (IASIR), USA (An Association Unifying the Sciences, Engineering, and Applied Research)

THE RELEVANCE OF FABRIC TOYS IN CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria U. Anikweze Department of Home Science and Management, Faculty of Agriculture Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria Abstract: The exploratory survey examined the perception of literate adults in Keffi and Lafia urban areas of Nasarawa State, when segregated according to educational qualifications and marital status, about the relevance and utility value of play safe fabric toys for enhancing children’s social and educational development especially their acquisitions of social and intellectual skills. Four research questions and two null hypotheses were formulated to assist the investigation. A random sample of 250 literate adults located in the two urban centres was approached with a 20-item structured questionnaire. Findings from the study show glaringly that toys are very relevant in the upbringing of children. Most literate adults admitted that toys could play an important role in social and educational development of pre-school children. There was no significant sex differentiation in the perception of adults regarding children’s choice of sex-stereotyped toys. Similarly, there was no significant difference in the perception of literate adults occasioned by differential educational qualifications. It was concluded that preference for fabric toys was because they are safe and can be cheaply made from pieces of cloth. Among the recommendations were that lovers of children should insist on purchasing only play safe toys for them and the need to supervise how children play with their toys. Keywords: Play-safe fabric toys; Utility value; Social and intellectual skills; Pre-school children; Sexstereotyped toys; Psychosocial development of children I. Introduction A toy could be described as any item or safe object that can be used for play, amusement and recreation. The Webster Comprehensive Dictionary define toy as an article constructed for the amusement of children, a play thing, or any trifling or diverting object imitating a larger one and fitted foe entertainment and instruction [1]. It is therefore no wonder that children generally love playing with toys. Even babies at the age of only about three months enjoy tossing toys about. Indeed, some toys serve as companions to children. Hence, playing with toys is not only enjoyable to children but also serves as a means of training the young ones for life in society. For instance, when a child recognizes particular toys as his or her own, there will follow a sense of attachment which is a pertinent aspect of socialization. Toys are generally important in the life of children as playing with toys help them to learn about the world around them as they grow up. Babies use toys as companions and as they play with toys they begin to discover their identity by attaching themselves to the toys that belong to them. With time some children simulate the roles of parents by treating their toys as their own babies, bathing them with water, tying the toys to their backs and cuddling them with keen interest. By so doing, children explore relationships and practice skills they will need in future as adults. Of particular significance is the sense of preservation that children develop while attaching inimitable value to their toys. Thus, one would not be surprised to see a child burst into tears if something happens to his/her toy. Toys are of different types including sharing toys, action toys, imitative toys and creative toys. Toys can also be grouped according to the role they play. But is has been argued that imitative and creative toys can be constructed into different shapes of fabric toys because of the softness of fabrics materials [2]. Fabric toys seem to have special attraction for children partly because they are light to carry and toss about and partly because they are attractive and safe to play with since they are not abrasive to the body however strong the friction might be. They are not breakable; hence a child can have many fabric toys for keeps over a long period of time. Obviously, toys play significant roles in the psychosocial development of children and children often display sex-stereotyped toy choices. Thus, children demonstrate the tendency to prefer certain toys to others based on gender perception. For instance, toy guns and toy soldiers are perceived as being more acceptable to male children while infant girls show a visual preference for a doll over a toy truck [4]. Indeed, researchers have observed clear differences in toy choice are well established within the child by the age of three. In other words, children already prefer sex-typical toys even before any self-awareness of gender identity has emerged [5]. Different materials are used to make toys that are admirable and endearing to children. Many items are designed to serve as toys, but goods produced for other purposes can also be used. For instance, a small child may pick up a household item and ‘fly’ it through the air as to pretend that it is an airplane. Another consideration is

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interactive digital entertainment. Some toys are produced primarily as collector’s items and are intended for display only. Fabric toys seem to belong to this category and the observed attitudes of children towards fabric toys such baby dolls, puppy and cat dolls suggest that there could be unexpressed meaningfulness attached by children to these toys. Incidentally, the attention of researchers has not been very much directed to unveil the full relevance of fabric toys in the development and education of infants. Therefore, the thrust of this study was to investigate how literate adults in Lafia and Keffi areas of Nasarawa State relate toys to children’s social development and education. Purpose of the Study The study was intended to explore what literate adults in Lafia and Keffi areas of Nasarawa State of Nigeria consider the relevance of fabric toys in the social and educational life of preschool children. Specifically, the research sought to: 1) determine the psychosocial relevance of toys in child development as perceived by adults in the study area; 2) estimate the proportion of adults that prefers fabric toys to other types of toy materials due to safety reasons; 3) compare the perception of literate adults segregated by gender on the role of toys in the social and educative development of children; and 4) compare the views of literate adults of differential ages about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants Research Questions The following five research questions were formulated to guide the investigation: 1) What is the relevance of toys in the social and intellectual development of infants as perceived by literate adults in Lafia and Keffi areas of Nasarawa State? 2) What proportion of adults prefers fabric toys to other types of toy materials due to safety reasons? 3) How does sex influence the views of literate adults about the role of toys in the social and educative development of children? 4) How does the age differential of literate adults influence their views about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants? Statement of the Hypotheses Two null hypotheses tested at the 0.05 level of significance were framed to aid the investigation. Ho1: Sex has no significant influence on the views of literate adults about the role of toys in the social and educative development of children. Ho2: There will be no significant difference in the views of literate adults segregated according to age about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants. II. Review of literature Toy has been defined in several ways. It is something for a child to play with; something diminutive especially a diminutive animal (as of a small breed or variety); something that can be toyed with [6]. The toy is also an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with [7]. Toy could therefore be a thing or matter of little or no value or importance; a trifle or something that serves for or as if for diversion, rather than for serious practical use. It is a small article of little value but prized as a souvenir or for some other special reason such as birthday gift. It is any item that can be used for play and generally toys are played with by children and pets or loved persons [8]. Playing with toys is an enjoyable means of training the young for life in society. It is believed that children develop social skills as they learn to share toys with their siblings or with other children. One of the social skills that could be learnt at tender ages is cooperation through sharing. Hence, parents are advised to spare time to play ‘give and take’ game with their little children as a way of teaching them sharing [10]. It is therefore important for parents, caregivers and teachers of preschool children to be judicious in choosing safe toys for infants and especially those with potential for enhancing learning and education. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable to both young and old. Examples of toys include toy TV, toy sports cars, dolls, pacifiers, scooters, bikes, tricks, doll cats, doll dogs, etc. The materials for making toys equally differ in hardness/softness, weight, colour and durability. Some toys are made from wood, some from plastics, some from fabrics and others from metallic or rubberized materials. Consequently, the amount of safety guaranteed a child while using a toy depends on the type of toy material. It is therefore no wonder why the American Federal Register, a Commission of the United States Government provided legislation to regulate the production of different types of children’s toys essentially for the safety and care of the little ones [11]. On February 12, 2009, the Commission issued guidance in draft form on the meaning of “children's toy” and “child care article” as used in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), Public Law 110-314

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(August 14, 2008). The Commission considered and issued a rule based on the following guidance as it relates to safety requirements, safety labeling requirements, and test methods related to: a) internal harm or injury hazards caused by the ingestion or inhalation of magnets in children's products; b) toxic substances; c) toys with spherical ends; d) hemispheric-shaped objects; e) cords, straps, and elastics; and f) battery-operated toys Concern for the safety of children has led to the advocacy that toys for children should be age appropriate [12]. Young children should not have any toys with small parts to prevent choking. Indeed, any toy that slides through a paper towel roll should not be given to children. Related to toys for children, is the conviction that young children learn best through play and educational children’s toys are a popular addition to playrooms due to their multifaceted ability to teach and occupy the time of infants; hence, the advocacy that parents should give a good start to their children’s education by choosing the right educational learning toys for toddlers and preschoolers [13]. Outdoor toys she insisted are helpful in developing many skills during children's playtime and children's toys developed for outdoor play tend to be durable and easy to clean. III. Methodology The study was designed as a cross-sectional survey of the views of literate adults in Lafia and Keffi urban areas of Nasarawa State about the relevance of fabric toys in the childhood development and education of children. This cross-sectional design was considered appropriate because data would be collected within a short span of time from widely dispersed sample of the target population. The scope of the study was delimited to the staff of the educational institutions and public establishments in Lafia and Keffi townships. The population of the study consisted of adults who could read and write in the study area. The adults comprised men and women above the age of 25 years and so included those that have become parents and may have acquired toys for their children. Lafia is the capital of Nasarawa state and hosts several educational institutions including three tertiary institutions plus a university campus and a federal medical centre among other government ministries and departments. Keffi is the Headquarters of Keffi Local Government Area, a university town and with several schools and colleges beside a federal medical centre and state branches of ministries and departments. The estimated size of the target population is about 10,000. A sample of 250 adults was selected for the investigation using the stratified random sampling technique to ensure representations from the two gender groups and covering adults in different age brackets. Instrumentation The instrument used for data collection was a 20-item structured questionnaire developed by the researcher. It took the form of modified Likert type scale spanning from Strongly Agree through Agree and disagree to Strongly Disagree and covering the conceived indices of the utility value of fabric toys relative to other kinds of toys. Validity and Reliability of the Instrument The instrument was validated by subjecting it to the critical appraisal and rating of experts in Home Science and Management and in Educational Research from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi. The professional educators considered the instrument in terms of appropriateness for the objectives of the study, and the accuracy and relevance of the items using a 5-point rating scale. Their ratings were collated and used to obtain a validity index of 0.84 which was considered substantially high for the adoption of the instrument as valid. The reliability of the instrument was established by subjecting it to a pilot study involving a sample of 30 adults from the study area but excluded from the main sample. The ensuing data were analysed using the Cronbach’s Alpha technique that yielded 0.79 coefficient of internal consistency. The administration of the instrument was carried out through the wait-and-take mode by four research assistants that are students of the Nasarawa State University. The chosen mode of administration was to ensure a high percentage of questionnaire retrieval. Anyway, one of the research assistants did not adhere strictly to instruction and so only 235 questionnaires were retrieved and used for analysis. Anyhow the resulting 94.0% return ratio was considered adequate for data analysis. IV. Results Research questions 1 and 2 were analysed using descriptive statistics, mainly in relative frequencies (percentages) while research questions 3 and 4 were answered by testing the corresponding null hypotheses. Research Question 1 The first research question was: What is the relevance of fabric toys in the social and intellectual development of infants as perceived by literate adults in Lafia and Keffi areas of Nasarawa State? Table 1 portrays the distribution of the respondents across the relevant items on the questionnaire.

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Table 1: Descriptive Statistics of Literate Adults on Relevance of Fabric Toys in the Social and Intellectual Development of Infants S/N 5.

Statements I admire watching children play with toys

6.

Toys only help to divert children from disturbing adults

7.

Toys help children’s body to grow strong

8.

Toys help children to stop crying and have no educational value

9.

Toys provide play for children and teach them to explore relations

10.

Toys help children to discover their identity

11.

Toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession

12.

Toys help children to practice skills they will need as adults

13.

Toys do not help children to exercise their minds and bodies

14.

Toys help children to learn about spatial relationships, cause and effect

15.

Toys provide entertainment while fulfilling an educational role

20.

Children as young as 18 months display sex-stereotyped toy choices, e.g. infant girls prefer fabric toys to toy trucks

SA 108 (46) 98 (42) 80 (34) 85 (36) 93 (39) 78 (33) 135 (57) 120 (51) 6 (3) 60 (26) 98 (42) 67 (29)

A 101 (43) 104 (44) 88 (38) 63 (27) 77 (33) 79 (33) 89 (38) 80 (34) 9 (4) 57 (24) 87 (37) 59 (25)

D 18 (8) 25 (11) 40 (17) 61 (26) 39 (17) 37 (16) 6 (3) 26 (11) 103 (44) 56 (24) 31 (13) 66 (28)

SD 8 (3) 8 (3) 27 (11) 26 (11) 26 (11) 41 (18) 5 (2) 9 (4) 117 (51) 62 (26) 19 (8) 43 (18)

Total 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100)

Although Table 1 shows the frequencies for the 4-point items, yet it was considered convenient to pool the agreements and disagreements together in order to provide a clearer position of respondents on each item. Thus, item 5 shows that majority of the respondents (89%) indicated admiration in watching children play with toys. Only 11% of the respondents did not admire watching children play with toys. With regard to the relevance of safe toys in the social and intellectual development of infants, evidence from the study shows that while 82% of the respondents subscribe to the idea that toys only help to divert children from disturbing adults, yet 72% of the respondents agreed that toys not only help children’s body to grow strong but equally provide play for children and teach them to explore relations. However, 28% of the respondents disagreed that toys help children’s body to grow strong. Furthermore, as much as 63% of the respondents were of the view that toys can only help children to stop crying and have no educational value. On the contrary, 66% of the respondents were of the perception that toys help children to discover their identity while a domineering percentage of the respondents represented by 95% were of the opinion that toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession. Not surprisingly, as high a percentage as 85% of the research participants held the view that toys help children to practice skills they will need as adults. Only 15% of respondents were of the opinion that toys do not help children to practice skills they will need as adults. A minority of the respondents represented by 7% were of the opinion that toys do not help children to exercise their minds and bodies but 93% of the respondents conceded that toys help children to exercise their minds and bodies. However, opinions were equally distributed (50% aside) on the relevance of toys in helping children to learn about spatial relationships, cause and effect. This is in spite of the fact that 95% of the respondents submitted that infants begin to recognize shapes and colors through play with toys. Furthermore, majority of the respondents represented by 79% were of the view that toys provide entertainment to children while fulfilling an educational role. Research question 2: What proportion of the adults prefers fabric toys to other types of toy materials due to safety reasons? Data from items 17 – 19 were used to answer the questions as shown in Table 2. Table 2: Distribution of respondents on preference for fabric toys S/No 17.

Statements The best toys for children are plastic toys for being cheap and durable

18.

Fabric toys are best for children in terms of safety

19.

Fabric toys are preferred because they can be cheaply made from pieces of cloth

SA 67 (29) 128 (55) 119 (51)

A 52 (22) 74 (31) 97 (41)

D 66 (28) 16 (7) 10 (4)

SD 50 (21) 17 (7) 9 (4)

Total 235 (100) 235 (100) 235 (100)

Opinions seemed to be evenly divided concerning plastic toys basically due to their cheap costs. It is evident that 51% of the respondents considered plastic toys as the best for children because plastic toys are cheap and durable. However, 49% of the respondents were of the view that the best toys for children are not plastic types

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in spite of their cheapness and durability. This impression was further confirmed by 86% agreement that fabric toys are best for children in terms of safety. Only 14% of the respondents held the opinion that fabric toys are not best for children despite the issue of safety. With regard to relative cheapness, an overwhelming majority of the respondents represented by 92% submitted that fabric toys are preferred because they can be cheaply made from pieces of cloth. The dissenting 8% of the respondents may not have known that fabric toys could be cheaply made from pieces of cloth and leftovers from sewing. From item 20, it is evident that 54% of the respondents were of the view that children as young as 18 months display sex-stereotyped toy choices. For instance, this researcher has observed that infant girls prefer fabric toys to toy trucks or toy guns while infant boys tend to prefer toy aero planes that even scare the infant girls. However, the finding from this study show that 46% of the respondents disagreed on the statement that children as young as 18 months, could display sex-stereotyped toy choices. Research Question 3: How does sex influence the views of literate adults about the role of toys in the social and educative development of children? Table 3 portrays the relevant data for answering this research question. Table 3 shows the distribution of the respondents segregated according to gender. Table 3: Distribution of respondents’ opinion on the relevance of fabric toys in the social and intellectual development of infants by sex S/N

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Statement

Toys only help to divert children from disturbing adults Toys help children’s body to grow strong Toys help children to stop crying and have no educational value Toys provide play for children and teach them to explore relations Toys help children to discover their identity Toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession Toys help children to practice skills they will need as adults Toys do not help children to exercise their minds and bodies Toys help children to learn about spatial relationships, cause and effect Toys provide entertainment while fulfilling an educational role Through play with toys infants begin to recognize shapes and colors

Sex of Respondents SA 61 (42) 42 (28) 70 (48) 54 (36) 65 (44) 65 (44) 52 (36) 11 (8) 44 (30) 60 (41) 74 (51)

Male Respondents A D SD 70 10 5 (48) (7) (3) 48 46 10 (33) (32) (7) 54 11 11 (36) (8) (8) 37 20 35 (26) (14) (24) 57 11 13 (39) (8) (9) 70 5 5 (50) (3) (3) 58 26 10 (40) (17) (7) 11 70 54 (8) (48) (36) 37 30 35 (26) (21) (24) 44 21 21 (31) (14) (14) 57 10 5 (39) (7) (3)

Total 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100) 146 (100)

SA 32 (36) 25 (28) 37 (42) 22 (25) 35 (39) 40 (45) 27 (30) 8 (9) 15 (17) 38 (43) 32 (36)

Female Respondents A D SD 40 11 6 (45) (12) (7) 28 24 12 (31) (27) (14) 26 15 11 (29) (17) (12) 30 21 16 (34) (24) (17) 38 10 6 (43) (11) (7) 39 5 5 (43) (6) (6) 46 11 5 (52) (12) (6) 11 40 30 (12) (45) (34) 38 24 12 (43) (27) (13) 31 10 10 (35) (11) (11) 40 11 6 (45) (12) (7)

Total 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100) 89 (100)

From Table 3, it is easy to discern that both males and females seem to share similar over most of the items. For instance, 80% of the males and 82% of the females admired watching children play with toys; 90% of the males and 81% of the females agreed that toys help to divert children from disturbing adults; 61% of the males and 59% of the females agreed that toys help children’s body to grow strong; 84% of the males and 71% of the females were of the view that toys help children to stop crying while 83% of the males and 82% of the females agreed that toys help children to discover their identity. On the tendency of infants to identify ownership and personal possession of toys, 94% of the males and 88% of the females were in agreement. On many other items, the distribution of opinions between males and females did not differ appreciably. Thus, 76% of the males and 82% of the females were of the view that toys help children to practice skills they will need as adults even as 84% of the males and 79% of the females conceded that toys help children to exercise their minds and bodies and 90% of the males and 81% of the females agreed that through play with toys, infants begin to recognize shapes and colors. It is only on the issue of sex-stereotyped toy choices that there appears to be a wide gap between the opinions of males and females. On this item, 73% of males and 41% of females agreed that children as young as 18 months could display sex-stereotyped toy choices such as infant girls preferring fabric doll toys to toy trucks. Research Question 4 The 4th research question was: How does the age differential of literate adults influence their views about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants? The obtained data as illustrated in Table 4 indicate that over 70% of each age category of literate adults that responded to the questionnaire were agreed that toys help to divert children from disturbing adults; toys provide play for children and teach them to explore

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relations; toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession; toys help children to discover their identity; toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession; toys help children to practice skills they will need as adults and through play with toys infants begin to recognize shapes and colors. Table 4: Distribution of respondents’ opinion on the relevance of fabric toys in the social and intellectual development of infants by age S/N

6 7* 8* 9 10 11 12 13 16 17 18 19 20

Statement Below 30 years A D Tot 39 16 55 (71) (29) (100) 34 21 55 (62) (38) (100) 36 19 55 (66) (34) (100) 42 13 55 (76) (24) (100) 43 12 55 (78) (22) (100) 39 16 55 (71) (29) (100) 41 14 55 (75) (25) (100) 9 46 55 (17) (83) (100) 39 16 55 (71) (29) (100) 32 23 55 (58) (42) (100) 45 10 55 (82) (18) (100) 40 15 55 (73) (27) (100) 37 18 55 (67) (33) (100)

Toys only help to divert children from disturbing adults Toys help children’s body to grow strong Toys help children to stop crying and have no educational value Toys provide play for children and teach them to explore relations Toys help children to discover their identity Toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession Toys help children to practice skills they will need as adults Toys do not help children to exercise their minds and bodies Through play with toys infants begin to recognize shapes and colors The best toys for children are plastic toys for being cheap and durable Fabric toys are best for children in terms of safety Fabric toys are preferred because they can be cheaply made from pieces of cloth Children as young as 18 months display sexstereotyped toy choices, e.g. infant girls prefer fabric toys to toy trucks

Age Ranges 31-50 years A D Tot 132 38 170 (77) (33) (100) 98 72 170 (58) (42) (100) 120 50 170 (70) (30) (100) 138 32 170 (80) (20) (100) 142 28 170 (83) (17) (100) 128 42 170 (74) (26) (100) 142 28 170 (83) (17) (100) 44 126 170 (26) (74) (100) 130 41 170 (76) (24) (100) 94 122 170 (28) (72) (100) 147 23 170 (86) (14) (100) 118 52 170 (69) (31) (100) 102 60 170 (59) (41) (100)

Above 50 Years A D Tot 7 3 10 (70) (30) (100) 8 2 10 (80) (20) (100) 8 6 10 (40) (60) (100) 8 2 10 (80) (20) (100) 8 2 10 (80) (20) (100) 9 1 10 (90) (10) (100) 9 1 10 (90) (10) (100) 3 7 10 (30) (70) (100) 9 1 10 (90) (10) (100) 8 2 10 (80) (20) (100) 9 1 10 (90) (10) (100) 9 1 10 (90) (10) (100) 6 4 10 (60) (40) (100)

Discrepancies in opinions were observed only on items 7, 8 and 17. In item 7, while an overwhelming 80% of over 50 year-olds agreed that toys only help to divert children from disturbing adults, only 62% of under 30 years of age and 58% of those in 31-50 bracket agreed to the proposition. In the case of item 8, 66% of the under 30 years of age agreed, 70% of middle aged adults (31-50 years) agreed, but only 40% of old adults aged over 50 years were agreement. This is probably because the item demanded two views in one. Thus, one can agree that “Toys help children to stop crying” and disagree that “toys have no educational value”. It is noteworthy from item 16 that 71% of the under 30 respondents and 76% of those between 30 and 50 years were of the opinion that through play with toys, infants begin to recognize shapes and colors. To this, 90% of the much older adults were also in agreement. On the issue of preference for fabric toys, over 85% of all the categories of respondents agreed that fabric toys are the best with regard to the safety of children while playing with toys. However, reactions to item 17 indicate that while 80% of the 10 respondents within the over 50 year-olds would opt for plastic toys for their relative cheap price and durability, 72% of 170 respondents in the 31-50 years bracket might never be attracted to plastic toys despite their cheapness and this group formed. Testing of Null Hypotheses The first null hypothesis (Ho1) was that sex has no significant influence on the views of literate adults about the role of toys in the social and educative development of children. Chi Square statistic was employed for testing this hypothesis since the obtained data were non-parametric. Table 5: Chi-square test for the influence of sex of literate adults on role of toys in the social and educative development of children Variable Count df α 1. Male 146 2. Female 89 233 0.05

x2cal

14.284

x2tab

Decision

27.141

Accept Ho. 1

Table 5 shows the chi-square result for the influence of sex on the views of literate adults about the role of toys in the social and educational development of children. The calculated value of

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 2 at the 0.05 level of significance with 233 degrees of freedom was 14.284. This falls short of the critical value of  2 that is needed which is 27.141. The null hypothesis was therefore not rejected. The implication is that sex has no significant influence on the views of literate adults regarding the role of toys in the social and educative development of children. Hypothesis 2 The second null hypothesis (Ho2) was that there will be no significant difference in the views of literate adults about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants due to differences in age. The KruskalWallis (H) statistic was adopted to test the difference Table 6: Kruskal-Wallis (H) test result for the difference in the views about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants as moderated by age Variable 1. 2. 3.

Count df Below 30 years 31-50 years Above 50 years

α Hcal Htab Decision 55 170 10 2 20.05 3.110 4.714 Accept Ho. 4

Table 6 shows the Kruskal-Wallis test result for the difference in the views of literate adults segregated by age about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants. From Table 6, it is evident that the calculated value of H at the 0.05 level of significance with 2 degrees of freedom was 3.110 which is less than the critical value of the H needed for rejection which is 4.714. The null hypothesis was therefore accepted implying that there is no significant difference in the views of literate adults about the role of fabric toys in the growth and early education of infants irrespective of the age differential among the respondents. V Discussion One thing that is obvious is that literate adults generally admire seeing children play with toys. More importantly, most of the literate adults were positive in their perception of the relevance of educational toys to the social and intellectual development of infants. This probably motivates them to purchase toys for children who never requested for any. Thus, the knowledge of educational toys will assist parents, uncles, aunties and more especially the proprietors of nursery schools to be rather discriminatory in choosing only toys that have educational value for children. There is a prevalent perception that toys enhance cognitive behaviour and also stimulate creativity [14]. As the children manipulate the toys, their imagination is exercised and creativity is ignited particularly with such toys as lego which children can use as building blocks for whatever images they fancy. Evidence from the study indicated that neither differences in sex nor age exerted any significant influence on the perception of the literate adults regarding the relevance of toys in the life and growth of children. For instance, majority of the respondents to the questionnaire were agreed that children often display sex-stereotyped toy choices. Thus, children demonstrate the tendency to prefer certain toys to others based on gender perception. This confirms the position of earlier researchers who found out that toy guns and toy soldiers are perceived as being more acceptable to male children while infant girls show a visual preference for a doll over a toy truck [3], [4]. The investigation provides incontrovertible evidence that fabric toys are the most preferable of toy materials essentially because of safe use in the hands of children especially when the infants are alone with the toy. Specifically, an overwhelming majority of the respondents (92%) submitted that fabric toys are preferred because they can be cheaply made from pieces of cloth. In this regard, the United States Government was right in providing a legislation to regulate the production of different types of children’s toys in recognition of the safety and care of the little ones [11]. It is interesting to discover that very old adults could discern that toys help children to identify ownership and personal possession. This has implication particularly for aged women who are often recruited to serve as nannies or caregivers in daycare centres or crèche. Infants can appropriate certain toys as their personal property and this is related to the differences in their tpy choice even before the tender age of three [5]. VI Conclusion Findings from this study show glaringly that toys are very relevant in the upbringing of children. The study provides abundant evidence to show that most literate adults, be they parents, teachers, nurses and civil servants, and whether males or females, generally realize the important role that toys could play in social and educational development of pre-school children. Children manifest possessiveness of their own toys and this has implication for teaching them sharing as part of socialization. Majority of the respondents represented by 92% submitted that fabric toys are preferred because they can be cheaply made from pieces of cloth. There was no significant sex differentiation in the perception of adults regarding children’s choice of sex-stereotyped toys although children themselves display sex-stereotyped toy choices, e.g. infant girls prefer fabric toys to toy trucks while

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Gloria U. Anikweze, American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, 6(1), March-May, 2014, pp. 5562

boys seem to prefer guns, bikes and kites. There was no significant difference in the perception of literate adults occasioned by differential educational qualifications. VII Recommendations Based on the outcome of this survey, the following recommendations are proffered. 1) Parents, guardians and all lovers of children should insist on purchasing only play safe toys for children and this commends fabric toys over and above other types of toys. 2) The tendency of children to use toys to exercise their bodies and minds and to practice the skills they would need as adults suggests that adults should no longer regard toys as instruments for preventing children from disturbing adults. There is the need to supervise how children play with their toys since it is supervised practice that makes perfect. 3) Since daycare centres and crèche are supposed to act as extensions of the home, the toys provided for the children’s play should be preponderantly of fabric type to ensure the safety of children. 4) The Federal Ministry of Education should initiate a bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly on the regulation of the production and sale of safe children’s toys.

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[12] [13] [14]

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