Interaction of Children with Toys to be Assembled: A Way to Promote the Development of Cognitive and Manual Skills

Laura Franchin1, Cristina Donati2, Beatrice Benelli3, Federica Zobec1, Paola Berchialla3, Marisa Cemin4, Dario Gregori5, *
1 ZETA Research Ltd., Trieste, Italy
2 Istituto Italiano Sicurezza Giocattoli Ltd, Milano, Italy
3 Department of Public Health and Microbiology, University of Torino, Italy
4 Department of Psychology, University of Padova, Italy
5 Labs of Epidemiological Methods and Biostatistics, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padova, Italy

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Franchin et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Labs of Epidemiological Methods and Biostatistics, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, University of Padova, Via Loredan 18, 35131 Padova, Italy; Tel: +39 049 8275384; Fax: +39 02 700445089; E-mail:


The aim of the present study was to investigate the development of cognitive and manual skills in a sample of 48 children aged from 3 to 6 years in playing situations with toys to be assembled that usually are associated to edible products in the same packaging. The experimental observation made on children’s manipulations in building these toys allowed us to investigate the development of cognitive skills during an object identification phase (when the parts of the toy are not assembled), the development of motor skills, observing the children’s behavior mainly during the toy assembling phase, and finally the improvement of the child’s self-esteem by analysing the children’s verbal expressions and playing behaviors with the whole toy. The main results sustain an increasing of cognitive and fine motor skills during the years, and particularly an increasing of positive attitude that is fundamental for the child’s self-esteem. The use of manipulative objects to be assembled seems to be a way to promote the development of specific fundamental childhood skills.

Keywords: Fine motor skills, assembling toys, children’s self esteem.