Playtime can also be brain time!
Summer holidays allow for more time to go out with your children. This inevitably leads to children eagerly looking through the windows of toy stores, wanting to give the place a browse. As parents, it is important to know what toys will be beneficial and fun for your children to play with, and what toys will boost their brain development.
These are 4 basic categories of toys to keep in mind for your young children.
Building toys: Children playing with building or block toys have been found to, later on, be better at Mathematics, according to the Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education. There are many building toys to choose from, including wooden block toys, construction sets and lego sets.
Puzzles: Puzzles are problem-solving toys that boost children’s development because of hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, shape recognition, memory and spatial-awareness skills it improves. Toddlers aged 2 to 3 will do well with puzzles with a maximum of 12 pieces. Preschoolers aged 3 to 5 can enjoy harder puzzles that have up to 20 pieces.
Pretend-play items: If you have noticed, every childhood classroom has a pretend-play area to harbour creativity and imagination in children. The National Association for the Education of Young Children stated that high-level pretend-play produces cognitive, social and emotional benefits. Examples of pretend-play toys are child-size furniture, dress-up clothes, pretend play food, transportation toys and dolls and action figures.
Art tools: While this isn’t a toy, it should be a part of your child’s playtime! When children engage with art they are improving their fine motor skills by grasping pencils, paintbrushes, etc. Art aids cognitive development by teaching children patterning and cause and effect (for example, they will learn if they push their colour pencil harder on paper, a darker shade appears in their artwork). Believe it or not, art also helps with developing math skills as children can learn concepts like size, shape, and spatial reasoning.
When keeping these basic categories in mind, also remember that your children may prefer one set of toys over the other as they develop their own interests!
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