Plato stated in 'Laws' that: "We should learn to use the children's games to channel their pleasures and desires towards activities in which they have to engage when they are adult...".
The parents of today tend to have high expectations of their children. Thus, it is quite normal for children to, already, be able to read when they start school. Even toys are changing. Nowadays toys from online toy store are far more than just toys, they are a tool for educating children. Thus, the so-called educational toys are becoming increasingly far more common, perhaps, especially among parents.
What then is an educational toy? One definition, derived from wipekedia is that educational toys: "enhance, intellectual, social, emotional, and/or physical development." One might argue that this is true of almost any toy, but the thing that differentiates educational toys from other toys is that the toy is intended to teach certain skills to children.
A classic example of what might be considered an educational toy is a traditional jigsaw puzzle. This toy has amused children of all ages for hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years. However, the jigsaw puzzles of today have evolved, they have become 3D puzzles. Other examples of educational toys would be all sorts of scale models, cars planes, and so forth requiring children to construct complex structures. Lego, the small building blocks from the Danish company of the same name, would be one such example. Lego allows children to build a multitude of structures using a blue print, but also to construct various things using only their own imagination as a blue print.
Chinese parents are without a doubt among the parents in the whole world who demand the most from their children. So, not surprisingly, Chinese parents are very fond of educational toys. This is also reflected in the number of Chinese companies manufacturing educational toys.
Some of the Chinese manufacturers will even claim that educational toys can be used to relieve stress, increase intelligence, stop dementia, and prolong a person's lifespan. Whether or not this is true, I shall leave up to your own imagination, but the reality is that educational toys are here to stay.