When I was pregnant with my son, I remember being amazed at how much he had developed physically from the first ultrasound at 8 weeks to the second one at 12 weeks. He went from what looked like a gummy bear to an actual baby! This rapid growth doesn’t stop once they are born either. We may not see the physical change as drastically, but their brains are growing! A human brain doubles in size the first year of life, and has reached 80% of its adult volume by age three. By the time we reach five our brains are 85% developed.
Children Learn Early
So much of our learning starts before we even set foot inside a traditional classroom setting. This makes this early period a crucial time for fine motor and cognitive development as well as early math and literacy skills. Think problem solving, correctly holding and using a crayon, counting to ten and identifying letters. While it may seem as though these skills magically appear on their own, children actually have to explore to develop their abilities.
Children Learn Through Play
Playing is how we all first learn, so what are the best ways to help your child develop these skills at a young age? While books and everyday objects, such as wooden spoons are a great start, these objects may not help to directly develop all of the basic skills needed to support a strong foundation.
Educational toys are researched and specifically designed to build on multiple skills. The stack and play wooden block set from HABA is a great example of this. This little toy packs a big punch! The stacker helps to develop fine motor skills as your child works to fit the varied shapes together using the pegs and corresponding holes. Math skills are developed as your child works to count out the correct number of pieces they've been able to stack and cognitive skills are sharpened as your child learns that the size and shape of a block changes how it can be used in a building structure.
So the next time you are thinking about what toys for your child to play with, try to find toys that encompass more than one developmental skill in an effort to help build a solid foundation for your child’s learning.
Tell me, what are your child's favorite toys?