You Are Your Child’s Best Toy!
We first need to begin by saying; Parent Education has saved us from ideologies that were not known to man centuries ago. The same goes for toys; what toys do you buy? What toys do you accept? Why? Can you even answer that question? Well for many years we met families who could not, and we realized we needed to explain the fundamentals of brain development and the importance of “sufficient”, “crucial” and the “necessary” factors about the toys in your child’s room. Trust me, you might have never known that certain toys can be detrimental if not used properly!
What is Brain Development? Why, do children benefit from having their experiences enhanced? According to the National Center For Infants, Toddlers, and Families, “The first three years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a baby’s development. A newborn’s brain is about 25 percent of its approximate adult weight. But by age 3, it has grown dramatically by producing billions of cells and hundreds of trillions of connections, or synapses, between these cells”. At birth the brain is said to be unfinished and underdeveloped, but we know children use their brain to create cognitive skills, emotions, social skills and more. The brain has been said to develop in the world and not in the womb. Are you focused yet? Great, let’s move on. Research shows that 75 percent of a child’s brain occurs after birth! So now take a look in your child’s room and quietly examine all the toys, and pick out what you feel enhanced their brain development, better yet did someone even interact with them while using these toys? Now, this is to get you zoned into reality for your child’s optimal success not to feel down because you might not have been clued on to this topic. When we know better, we do better and as educators we want you to be the best you can be!
Here are 5 Things You Did Not Know About Battery-Operated Toys & Their Effects on Brain Development!
Developmental psychologist Rachel Keen notes, parents and teachers “need to design environments that encourage and enhance problem solving from a young age” (Keen 2011).
- They do not promote math skills, social skills, problem solving skills, and cooperative play, but blocks, hands on objects, and wooden toys do.
- Going back to the basics allows language development to grow. When your child has to interact to play, this is the benefit of high success. There is not much interaction with battery-operated toys.
- Infants and Toddlers brains are dependent on the responses of adults.
- A baby forms 700 neural connections in the first year of life. Now think if this child was playing alone with battery operated or do it yourself toys.
- A newborn is born with most of the brain cells we have for our entire life, but do not know how to connect and use them. This is where we come in to understand how crucial interaction and brain development is for young children.
So tell me what will you go home and do now?
It’s the perfect weather for outdoor water play. Stay cool in the hot summer sun while introducing your Little Pnuts to the joy of fishing. A great game of strategy while encouraging concentration and focus. Perfect for a play date or for individual play, Fishing for Ping Pong Balls, will get your Little Pnuts excited about splashing around!
What You Will Need
- Ping Pong Balls (as many or as few as you like)
- Something to fish with like a butterfly or bug net or a kitchen strainer with a handle or even slotted spoon would work.
- A body of water. Think kiddie pool, bathtub, water table or large plastic container.
Fill your designated container with water and drop in a few ping pong balls. We found that the ‘more the merrier’ in respect to the ping pong balls was especially true for this activity. Give your Little Pnut his fishing gear of choice. We used a kiddie sized butterfly net but a kitchen strainer with a handle works great too.
Let Them Fish!
See how many ping pong balls they can catch. Have them count them with you. If your Little Pnut is capable, challenge them to catch a particular number of ping pong balls. If you happen to have different colors of ping pong balls have them catch balls of a certain color. Ours were all white so we focused on making this a counting activity. For the littlest of Little Pnuts it’s great hand-eye coordination just for them to catch the ping pong balls and throw them back in the water.
This activities focuses on the following Developmental Milestones for your Little Pnuts:
Gross Motor Skill Development, Fine Motor Skills, Focus and Concentration, Strategic Thinking, Problem Solving, Cognitive Development, Coordination, Cooperative Play, Group Play and Individual Play.—Jennifer Haas, founder of Plain Vanilla Mom.