Specific Toy Ideas That Support Development
Here's a QUICK recap from my last blog post.
THERE ARE FIVE MAIN AREAS THAT CHILDREN DEVELOP.
- Cognitive Development: This is the child's ability to problem solve, count, math, etc. etc.
- Social and Emotional Development: The child's ability to interact with others. Something we are particularly working on is sharing space (not even to the sharing toys stage yet, just space) with other kids. This also includes self-regulation, which is practiced and learned over time.
- Speech and Language Development: Speaking, reading, text-rich environment…
- Fine motor skills: This is going to look different for each age and stage. Charlie has excellent fine motor skills. We play with stickers, he feeds himself etc. But instead of looking at where he's at according to his age. I look at what skills he has yet to learn and get him working on something beyond his abilities and support him through it. So if your child is 4, maybe that is drawing, maybe it's stringing beads on a necklace, maybe it's the little legos.
- Gross Motor Skills: Again we have no problems here. Charlie is a CRAZY climber. But he LOVES it. And I want to get him toys to use his gross motor skills in an appropriate way so he's not balancing on the edge of my couch trying to get the lights.
K, now that I did an intro on the five areas of development.
THINK TO YOURSELF THESE TWO QUESTIONS:
What toys/activities do I have that would support these developmental areas?
What developmental areas does my child need particular attention?
RULES OF THUMB:
Toys that use more senses, will generally support more development.
Toys that have more than one use or purpose will support more development.
Toys can serve multiple developmental areas at the same time.
Think about your child's interest and abilities. These toys might work for multiple ages and stages. In one stage of sensory toys for example there could be measuring cups and rice. In another you're adding magnets, in another you're adding people and making it a whole imaginary play scene. Think outside the box and how toys work together to support developmental areas. The toys don't do the teaching, what children create with the toys does the teaching!
My next blog is going to be talking about three kinds of toys that every child should have.