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Craft Toys in Egypt and Their Target Group

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  • Category:

    Life

  • Topic:

    Toys

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Crafts and Toys

Definition of Craft

In the Middle Ages and earlier, craft is normally valid to small business people who produce small amount of products, of their maintenance. Craft is a profession that needs specific handy skills and awareness of professional work.

As a main traditional division of crafts is Handicraft, it is when the craftsmen completely use their hand or a limited tools. Handicraft items have an outstanding benchmark each piece on its own, such items usually have cultural and/or religious implication.

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Definition of Craft Toys

A craft toy from my point of view is a kit that simplify the actual craft, however this doesn’t mean removing some steps of the process or applying only one step which is mostly finalizing (such as coloring or decorating the final object). It is a kit that contains materials and tools needed to produce one or more product. The craft toy has to be an application for all steps and process the actual craft pass through to produce the end product in order to give the child the full information and awareness needed about the craft or skill.

Importance of Craft

Craft has a huge benefits for the society, economy and culture. Since small business is considered as a craft, it is one of the most popular solution for the unemployment problems facing youth and elders nowadays, where one can master a craft and with the help of globalization it is easy to publish for oneself. By supporting these small business countries can promote for themselves and increase their income. It is already done by president Sisi in 2016, by providing 200 billion Egyptian Pound for small business with the easiest terms and maximum interest of 5% as an acknowledge of its importance and benefits. Craft and culture is a two way street when it comes to benefits, culture is the main background and history that created a craft, skill, technique in the first place, however development of crafts also add to the culture.

Importance of Toys

Play and toys is the second most important Child right after love. You can shape the future of your kids based on the type of toys and plays you offer them at their childhood, it reflects on how they think, how they deal with real life situations. You can teach them behaviors, manors, responsibilities, communication, culture, traditions and imagination. Opposite from the online games and kids tablets that are more trendy nowadays, children can lose their imagination skills by illustrating everything needed in a game, children are more exposed to an uncontrolled world by being online; something like the Momo Challenge that appeared lately on online websites and games that asks the children to commit suicide, like the Blue Whale game, and Mariam game. Hitler once said “ideas grow with children” so we need to take more time thinking what to teach and feed our kids. Barbie doll factor back in the days before world war II by 12 years was manufacturing German soldiers dolls for the German children which is proved to have an influence on them when they grow up and helped them win the war. It’s said that car players turned to be the knight riders, when I think of this in my environment for example my father used to play with mecano and cars as a child now he is a mechanical engineer interested in cars and machines, me myself I was raised with a Mather that do crochet, grandmother that knits, an aunt that do handcrafts and was involved in a lot of crafty activities such as in the Suzan Mubarak Child Museum (now known as Child Museum) we used to make pottery, candle, loom weaving and textiles printing, nowadays I’m interested in handcrafting and here doing my bachelor project on reviving that crafts. According to all experts, children learn by playing and toys are the gateway of discovering their surrounding world. Moreover it offers joy and happiness which leads to building self-stem.

Hand play toys engage children in physical activities that develop their fine and gross motor skills. By being involved in physical activity children discover balance, coordination and avoid obesity and exposing to a healthy lifestyle.

Toys also teach children language and social skills. By having an adult and other children interaction with in a game the child learn to cooperate with the group, listen to opinions from others, follow instruction from older person and learn to discuss their thoughts and process in specific terms.

Toys have a big role in developing children’ cognition by stimulating their concentration, memory skills and problem solving skills. This development guide the child later in math and language skills by a fun, joyful ways.

Importance of Craft Toys

By using existing materials to create toys, pictures, and other project children become involved in coloring, cooking,cutting, drawing, and gluing. They continuously develop construction skills, small motor skills, and better coordination through the process. They learn to identify colors, shapes and size in the process of crafting with the instructions of parents. Moreover, by describing their process and outcome, children develop their language and communication skills and discover new expressive terms. Craft can also teach the children to listen to adults instructions and think and behave in an order and sequence while putting a product together. They enjoy doing something beneficial, appealing, or fun to play with. According to Dr. Jerry Robbins, former dean of the education department at Georgia State University, child’s success in school relies on the time their parents spend with their kids, the surrounding environment at home, the type of toys they have to play with, the kind of opportunities their parents can offer in terms of exploring new places, and talking with them.

Egyptian Market

Egyptian Crafts

Egypt is one of the oldest countries in the world and its culture goes all the way back through different eras and concures. Each and every time phase Egypt based by has added to its culture and developed on its identity.

  1. Clay
  2. Cross-stitching
  3. Beading
  4. Copper
  5. Embroidery
  6. Wicker baskets
  7. Salt lanterns
  8. Alabaster
  9. Khyamya
  10. Wood carving
  11. Weaving
  12. Seashell decorated boxes
  13. Crochet
  14. Knitting

Craft Toys in Egyptian Market

After a market research and visits to big toy stores in Egypt; such as Toys R Us, Hedeya, Edu Fun, Bingo, Toy World, Fun Factory, KAMS and Our Kids, crafts section can contain products such as Slim, face painting kits, gypsum set coloring, stamps, dough, sand dough and accessories making; hair bands, friendship bracelets and rings decorations. This made me wonder when coloring and slime toys become craft? When did we lose our identity to limit the craft to accessories? Craft toys has been misunderstood. Play Dough is the most trending craft toys nowadays and even this has no identity or aim like creating a specific product. Around 25% only of stores I visited provide scarf making kits, doll sawing, mosaic making kits, embroidery making kits.

Egyptian Craft Toys

Their is only two Egyptian Companies that I could find that produce toys; Edu Fun and Bingo.

Edu Fun have only two toys under crafts, the first one is a gypsum past that child print their hand on then paint it when dry, the second game is a letter stamp set where the child can write whatever they want with.

Bingo have also only two options that goes under craft which are play dough and sand dough. They offer different sets of each toys but it is the same function.

Misconceptions of Craft Toys

As a conclusion of this first overview of the craft toys available now in the market, there has been a misunderstanding of the craft toys. There is a dereliction toward how rich our culture is, and a dereliction of educating our kids of their culture and we are damaging their brain and childhood by not giving the needed attention to our kids toys and what they play.

In this research I am aiming to inform our children and the upcoming generation of their country’s culture and craft skills through a craft toy.

Target Group

The 4 Stages of Cognitive Development

Based on Jean Piaget’s theory “The Four Stages of Cognitive Development”, children go through four stages in their lives of mental development. In this theory Piaget focus on understanding the nature of intelligence as much as the knowledge gained by the children. He identify these stages as:

  • A. Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years
  • B. Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7
  • C. Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11
  • D. Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up

He believed that children are like little scientists, they observe,experiment and take control in learning process about the world. By interacting with the surrounding world, they keep on adding new information and building on what they already knew, they also update their information regularly with new once.

The Sensorimotor Stage

Ages: Birth to 2 Years

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:

  • The baby explore the world through their movements and sensations.
  • Basic actions like sucking, grasping, looking and listening can teach them about the world.
  • They learn that objects can keep on existing even if they are not seen.
  • They learn that there is consequences for their actions.
  • They understand that they are individuals from the people and objects around them.

The Preoperational Stage

Ages: 2 to 7 Years

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:

  • Children start to think symbolically and learn to talk, and use pictures to identify objects.
  • At this stage children are more self-centered and do not see others points of view.
  • However they develop their language and thinking skills, they still prefer to think in a more tangible terms.

The Concrete Operational Stage

Ages: 7 to 11 Years

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes

  • Within this stage children can start thinking logically.
  • They start understand the concept of conservation.
  • They become more organized in thinking and logical.
  • Children begin using inductive logic, or reasoning from specific information to a general principle.

The Formal Operational Stage

Ages: 12 and Up

Major Characteristics and Developmental Changes:

  • Adolescent at this stage start thinking about hypothetical problems.
  • Abstract thoughts starts appearing.
  • They think more of moral, philosophical, ethical, social, and political problems more in this stage, which needs theoretical and abstract reasoning.
  • They also start building on logical conclusions based on general principle to specific information.

Age Group

Based on Piaget’s theory “The Four Stages of Cognitive Development”, I chose the age group 6-11 which is the last year of the preoperational stage and the concrete operational stage, as in the preoperational stage the children start building up their ideas and still collecting informations which is perfect to start introducing culture, history and their reflection on crafts and hand skills, which will eiase on them to actually pull out this information in practicing the craft and start producing an tangible outcome as they still prefer the tangible stuff however they can use logical and hypothetical ideas. Also at the concrete operational stage they become more open for group work and the fact of different points of views which will give the space for the parents and friends to be all involved in one big craft project.

References

  1. Brao, M. Rodrigo. “Why are toys important in childhood development?” The Toy Blog. October 9, 2014. http://blog-en.famosa.es/why-are-toys-important-in-childhood-development/.
  2. Campbell, Ben. “8 Reasons Why Crafting Activities for Kids Are So Important” My Kids Time. November 23, 2015. Accessed February 12, 2019. https://www.mykidstime.com/for-parents/8-reasons-why-craft-activities-for-kids-important/.
  3. Cherry, Kendra. ‘The 4 Stages of Cognitive Development’ Verywell Mind. October 15, 2018. https://www.verywellmind.com/piagets-stages-of-cognitive-development-2795457.
  4. Dondiego, Barbara L. “Craft-Training in the Preschool Curriculum”. 1992. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED351107.
  5. Önder, Mustafa. ‘Contribution of Plays and Toys to Children’s Value Education’ Asian Journal of Education and Training 4, no. 2 (2018): 146-149. DOI: 10.20448/journal.522.2018.42.146.149.
  6. State Information Service Your Gateway to Egypt.“Heritage and handcrafts. A title for identity and locomotive for development” Accessed February 24, 2019. http://sis.gov.eg/Story/151580?lang=ar.
  7. St. Clair, Eva. “The Importance of Art and Craft in Child Development”. PRINCESS AWESOME BLOG. October 31,2017. https://princess-awesome.com/blogs/news/the-importance-of-art-and-craft-in-child-development.
  8. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. “Craft.” Accessed February 23, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craft#Handicraft.
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