It is an accepted fact that action figures and collectable toys encourage children to engage in play activities that activate imaginations.
Thanks to a surge in the popularity of superhero movies, children can't help but be exposed to superhero figures such as the Justice League icons Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg or Transformers or Power Rangers. The media and advertisements inundate kids minds and charge their imaginations.
Children are not only willing, but actively wanting to engage in play with action figures. This presents an opportunity for parents. Playing with action figures can have many benefits to a child's development.
Imaginary or creative play is an important aspect of play that should be encouraged where possible. As action figures can not talk for themselves, children must give them a voice. This prompts the child to develop the skills to act in the role as a character. They must learn the skills to develop the drama out of role play, in order to shape the storyline.
It is important to encourage child led play. Children should drive the narrative of this creative play, while the adult should react in a positive and encouraging manner. Children are prone to re-enacting familiar storylines in play.
For added benefit, parents should consider action figures and collectable toys that require assembly, rather than ready-made figures. This is not always age or ability appropriate. Parents should take care when considering a LEGO style action figure for children, as there is not only a choking risk, but little benefit when a child is unable to assemble it themselves.
When children are at a stage where they can assemble their own toys, this should always be encouraged. Construction based activities are beneficial actions for the development of fine motor skills. Parents may need to model or scaffold these assemblies at first, but once observed, the child should be able to attempt to complete the assembly themselves.