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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 her observation skills and ability to interact. In addition, she’s busy becoming more efficient at processing, storing and implementing the information she’s gathered from the world around her.
The speed of her cognitive development is astonishing: in the first few years of her life, she’ll develop trillions of neural synapses (brain-cell connections). How is she able to do this? By playing.
This article from SharpBrains quotes Dr David Elkind, author ofThe Power of Play: Learning That Comes Naturally: “In infancy and early childhood, play is the activity through which children learn to recognize colors 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, she benefits in myriad ways from different types of playing – each just as important as the next. These include social and memory skills, self-awareness and self-regulating behavior, internal language, and the ability to strategize, organize, 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 her the best opportunity to strengthen and expand her 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:
Varis Stacking Blocks
This brightly coloured set of wooden blocks gives your child the tools she needs to build, stack (and demolish) towers of varying combinations. Suitable for kids aged two to four, this cognitive toy encourages problem solving and creativity while introducing kids to the concept of cause and effect.
World Kids – Sewing Kit
For children aged between three and six years, this ‘sewing kit’ encourages tolerance and respect by exposing children to pictures of peers of different nationalities and races.
As children ‘sew’, their hand-eye coordination is engaged, making this cognitive toy a fun way to learn about the world and finesse their fine motor skills.
Bright and Beyond Activity Cards
Suitable for children up to five years old, these activity cards equip you with a variety of activities that are designed to promote language, motor and cognitive skills in a way that’s interactive and fun. Made from sturdy, laminated cardboard, this cognitive toy is ‘sticky finger proof’!
An engaging cognitive toy for kids from 18 months up until five years, these brightly-coloured ‘chains’ are easy for little hands to assemble, encouraging spatial awareness, fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities.
On the lookout for more cognitive toys to grow your little one’s mind? We’re experts in making educational toys that delight kids and stimulate their cognitive skills. Check out our collection for kids of all ages, here.