There’s a good reason why toddlers utter the question “Why?” in response to almost everything they’re exposed to: they’re busy soaking up the world around them, learning to process thousands of visual and aural stimuli every single day.
The mental growth that takes place during the first few years will go on to fundamentally influence the rest of a child’s life. As your child’s body grows, so does her mental ability.
And just as important as a nutritious diet is for a strong, able-bodied toddler, so are the right tools to help your little one develop the cognitive skills that will serve her for the rest of her life.
Your child’s cognitive ability develops at a rapid pace, thanks in large part, to play. As a child grows, so do their observation skills and ability to interact. In addition, they’re busy becoming more efficient at processing, storing and implementing the information they’ve gathered from the world around.
The speed of cognitive development is astonishing: in the first few years of life, they’ll develop trillions of neural synapses (brain-cell connections). How are they able to do this? By playing.
This article from SharpBrains quotes Dr David Elkind, author of The Power of Play: Learning That Comes Naturally: “In infancy and early childhood, play is the activity through which children learn to recognize colours and shapes, tastes and sounds‚ the very building blocks of reality. Play also provides pathways to love and social connection”.
As your child gets older, they benefit in a myriad of ways from different types of playing – each just as important as the next. These include social and memory skills, self-awareness and self-regulating behaviour, internal language, and the ability to strategise, organise, focus and plan.
Because playing is such a pivotal part of cognitive development, it’s vital that you provide your child with the cognitive toys that will give them the best opportunity to strengthen and expand their mental prowess.
Cognitive toys that engage and challenge children in a way that’s enjoyable are powerful facilitators of learning.
There are thousands of cognitive toys on the market that stimulate young minds in a variety of ways. The good news is, educational toys that don’t rely on batteries or a connection to the internet are just as powerful as their high-tech counterparts.
(A word of warning: before handing over your hard-earned dollars, make sure the toy in question is age-appropriate to avoid choking hazards and bodily harm. To keep your child safe, ensure play-time is always supervised.) If you’re having trouble deciding on the toys that will best stimulate cognitive development, consider some of the following options:
Activity ABC 123
Capital letters templates and 10 numbers templates from 0 to 9 made of solid and soft plastic. Each template demonstrates the correct direction of the stroke. Essential for children to develop writing skills.
A classic toy that develops eye-hand coordination, creativity, spatial orientation and colour recognition. The most basic concepts of interlocking can also be practised and with concentration exercises and attention, allows for the development of the visual-motor co-ordination, creativity, spatial orientation and the discrimination of colours.
This set of interlocking pieces is especially designed for small hands, in assorted colours and textures. They are helpful for carrying out serialisation exercises of colour, counting, comparison, classifying and comprehension of initial arithmetic operations. Includes information cards as a guide to assist with these learning achievements.
Miniland Educational places an emphasis on the teaching aspects of toys. Miniland Educational toys are invaluable as educational tools due to the additional benefit of teaching guides and activity cards placed with many of the products. They are suitable for parents and educators alike. Learn more about the Miniland range available in Australia and New Zealand here http://www.axistoys.com/Brands/Miniland