Choosing the right activities for kids based on what they enjoy and where they’re at developmentally can be tricky. Likewise, selecting the best toy for each stage can also be challenging. Many times in the past I’d planned what I thought was a really fun kids’ activity only to then realize my boys totally weren’t ready for it. I’m also guilty of “peaking too early” with certain toys. In other words, I’ve got over-excited and bought a toy before my children were developmentally ready for it, only for them to get bored of it by the time they reached the appropriate stage to benefit from it.
Today, we’re going to break down the ages between 4-8 and look at what milestones children will be reaching and how they will impact the types of toys and activities that they may be interested in.
Continue reading “Choosing the best activities for kids | Developmental Milestones”
As parents, we hear how important Art is to childhood development, especially that of fine motor and visual skills. It’s true that the development of these skills are essential milestones because doing art can help fine tune those muscles in their hands when holding and using a pencil or crayon and even building dexterity by using scissors. Furthermore, visual skills are essential to cognitive learning for children because they learn more and better with visual cues. However, Art isn’t just important to childhood development but can also play a key role in adult success.
Programs and products that involve Art in a child’s curriculum are essential to the child’s development and adult success. Programs like STREAM Learning which stands for:
When you incorporate these concepts in a fun and engaging way, children can learn better and programs like STREAM Learning are making a huge impact on childhood education and that child’s future self.
Making open-ended art an everyday activity for children is essential to building creativity. When we encourage children to be creative, we challenge closed-minded thinking. This gives children the opportunity to think outside of the boundaries of the box and opening up their imagination and expanding possibilities. These problem-solving and critical thinking skills are concepts they learn in Art and as they grow older, will use these skills in everyday life.
It is through building creativity that encourages innovative thoughts and ideas and where it becomes reality. It takes one mind to think out-of-the box to solve some of society’s greatest mysteries and problems. The cure to cancer, renewable energy, and clean water are just some of the problems we face today. Building creativity that raises problem-solving and critical thinking skills to inspire innovation leads to a better future where our children and future generations will live in.
Research has shown that Art also improves academic performance.
“A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.”
Self-Expression is an important factor to the emotional and social development of a child. The ability to express themselves often helps a child be more confident and lead to positive thoughts of self-esteem and self-worth. Art allows children to express themselves in a safe environment where their canvas is anything they want it to be. Being able to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings through Art can help a child understand who they are.
The development of these concepts can help a child as they grow and make decisions on their own. Choosing new friends, dealing with peer-pressure and picking a career path are just some important decisions and obstacles our children will face. As adults, these developments are important too. Saying “No” to your boss, standing up for your integrity and leaving an abusive relationship are just some things we may face in our future that having self-confidence, good self-esteem and self-worth taught by self-expression can help us with.
Often times our art reflects our cultural history, upbringing and environment. A child will draw what he/she sees and knows and because Art is a safe environment to express themselves, it is often a good way to introduce social diversity. Art is a way for people to not only express themselves but to communicate and share as well. Identifying the beauty in art different than their own can help a child understand diversity.
Understanding social diversity is an important concept in our society and can lead to the strengthening community bonds. Just think of what impact our children’s generation could have when we teach them about the importance and beauty of social diversity. The differences between people, culture, and countries will be insignificant and leaves room for understanding, acceptance, and love.
Children should be encouraged every day to build creativity, encourage self-expression, and learn about social diversity through Art. These concepts bring so much enrichment to a child and their future and it’s important that they are not ignored. As parents, we should be looking for ways to incorporate art in lessons and use products that encourage STREAM Learning.
This is a guest post from Katriza Luna of Mommy Engineering.
Katriza is an engineer who is blessed to have the opportunity to be a stay at home mother to her two young boys. She is the founder of Mommy Engineering and strives to help mothers with parenting and achieving healthy family living. Learn more parenting tips and healthy home and family habits through insightful articles by fellow Moms on Mommy Engineering. Facebook | Twitter
There are literally millions of learning toys out there that kids love playing with, ranging from a few bucks, into the hundreds. It’s hard to tell which toy will capture your child’s interest and what won’t. Children are like sponges – they have the admirable ability to pick up new skills at a mind-blowing rate. While obviously they can learn a ton without toys, there’s a lot of fun to be had with toys too. What’s more, there are many toys out there that hit the mark for “edutainment” – that wonderful mix of educational and entertainment. In other words, learning toys that they’d love to play with; that will help stimulate their brains, challenge their intellect and stretch their imaginations. Continue reading “Learning through Play | Round-up of the best learning toys”
In this post, we’re going to look at the impact of technology on young kids and what value some of these tech toys have on learning.
It’s the year 2017 and technology is everywhere. Cell phones are getting smaller (and bigger!), laptops are getting lighter, homes are getting smarter and robots are taking over the world. OK, the last one’s not really happening (yet) but technology is certainly taking up a very significant part of our day – both at school/work and home. These days, kids have a better grasp on technology than some of their parents, and some toddlers are playing on iPads before they can even talk. But is the increase of tech toys for kids a good or a bad thing? What is the impact these technologies are having on our children? Continue reading “The impact of technology on kids?”
We often underestimate the value of working with the simplest things: paper, glue, scissors, or even just our kids’ little fingers.
Studies show that children benefit from regular fine motor work such as tearing, pasting, cutting and collaging.
Here are some easy, imaginative and practical DIY crafts for your kids, no matter what developmental stage they’re in.
Assorted pictures, precut
Small paper plates
Read the full post here.
We connected to 16 parents and asked them a simple question:
What do you look for in an educational toy when you buy one for an Early Elementary age child?
And here are the answers.
I find that simple is best. I like toys that are geared towards open ended play because they promote creativity. My kids used these kinds of toys — wooden blocks, pattern blocks, wooden fruit that you cut up — were what my kids used the frequently, and for years.
When choosing a new learning product or toy I look for toys that my kids will want to fully engage with. Not only does it have to be educational, it also has to be fun! A big bonus is if they can engage with little or no help from me. Learning through play is much more valuable when kids can explore on their own. I try to get out of their way!
First and foremost, the ideal toy for a child should spark the imagination, get the creative juices flowing and be adaptable. Toys that promote flexible thinkers and encourage problem-solving develop confidence. Most importantly they need to make the child feel emotionally secure to explore and take risks. FUN and fostering a sense of accomplishment contribute to an outstanding play experience.
When we purchase toys for our children, we look for toys that are engaging and have a high replay value. We want toys that have interesting features designed to capture and utilize a child’s imagination and curiosity. We love toys that inspire creativity and also want toys that are durable.
I look for a toy that fits the child’s interests and development.
I look for something that is fun, colorful and makes noise. Of course, it has to be educational though, but I notice that bright colors and sounds tend to keep a child more interested in the item and more likely to play with it (and learn from it).
When I look for a learning product/toy, I’m looking for quality. I want a product that will withstand the hardship of being owned by a child but also ingenuity. I want to promote creativity with products that have the same idea. Lastly I look for longevity of the product, how long my child could use this product; will it grow with them through the learning obstacles he will encounter in the next 6 months or 2 years?
Stephanie Howell | Stephaniehowell.com
When I buy a toy for an elementary age child I want it to encourage them to use their minds and their love of learning. I like creative and original toys and I also want them to stand the test of time. I don’t want my children to immediately tire of them.
Dr. Michelle Yasharpour | LA Mommies
When I look at learning products and toys, I try to find one that is fun, easy to figure out and use, but that will last a long time.
Falak S | This Mama Reviews
What makes for a great learning toy in my opinion is the one that presents the child with opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving while being open-ended at the same time. Something that allows the child to think outside the box so the inner creativity can be unleashed in a fun setting.
I look for a toy that can hold my child’s attention and is something he will pick up over and over. It needs to be both educational and fun, even better if it covers a variety of topics. It’s great if the product can be operated by my child independently too!
I look for toys that offer a variety of learning and playing experiences so that it is not a “one and done” experience. I also like toys that can be played with independently or as a group and that encourage imagination and inventive play. Quality materials are always a plus, too!
I look for multiple uses for the learning toy. It boils down to how many functions does it have that will it allow my child to explore and create on her own.
A mandatory trait for a learning product to elementary school kids is that is must stay with the child for more than 2 years. This product has to have multiple entry points where older kids can jump in and play, but also have a base entry point for younger kids.
SaraAnnDipitous | Saraanndipitous.com
When I consider products for my children I want something that encourages imagination and creativity; as well as providing a fun learning opportunity. It’s also important to find products that are collaborative and promote teamwork (since I have 2 kiddos about the same age). I like it when they are having a blast with a new toy and suddenly connect the dots between play and education on their own! I love to hear, “this is just like what we learned at school”.
At Raising Nerd, my blog supporting parents in their quest to inspire the next generation of scientists and creative problem solvers, we consider a good STEM toy as one that:
– Fuels kids’ imaginations, curiosity, and passion
– Sparks interest in and teaches one or more “STREAM” principles
– Is FUN!
– Promotes trial-and-error tinkering and collaboration
– Develops kids’ problem solving abilities
– Can be enjoyed in multiple ways
– Encourages kids to design, invent, or make something tangible and useful (or not!)
To get an idea of which educational toy your child might be interested in, read our latest blog post with a round-up of the top learning toys for kids aged 4-6 and 6-8.
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