Today, children are spoilt for choice when it comes to toys. However, these don't just keep children engaged, toys can become tools to improve brain activity and cognitive development too.
By Ashwin Dewan
Ever marvelled at the complete concentration of a child trying to solve a puzzle? The utter focus your child displays in that activity can be truly incredible. For that matter, does your child show mental fortitude when attempting to catch a ball? Well, did you know that play is not just about improving fitness, but can be a fun and fantastic way to boost brain development as well.
So, what better way to improve your child’s brain activity than through toys! After all, there is no child who does not love them. As children, we often played with action figures and building blocks. They kept us occupied for hours and, at the same time, taught us to think and use our brain — thereby, helping us develop our gross and motor skills as well.
Today, children rarely spend time outdoors. Instead, they are hooked to the television or a device, watching cartoons or playing games. However, rather than dissuading them from doing this, which will only make them want to do it more, give them toys that will keep them entertained and enhance brain development.
1. Wooden Alphabet Puzzle: Children love to assemble and arrange puzzle blocks into shapes they can easily identify and recognise. So, this toy is ideal for teaching children alphabets in a fun and creative manner. It has a puzzle board (made of wood) with colourful vegetable-shaped blocks. To play, your child needs to assemble and put together blocks that match the corresponding slots on the board. This will develop your child's ability to focus, recognise shapes and colours. It can also help enhance motor and problem-solving skills.
Recommended for children 2 years and above
2. Puzzle Cube: A puzzle cube is an excellent brain development toy. It has been around for ages and is simple and inexpensive. Your child will need to figure out how to solve the cube. This will help develop memory, hand-eye coordination, and also, hone analytical and problem-solving abilities.
Recommended for children 3 years and above.
3. Tangram: Helps children get familiar with geometric shapes and develop strong problem-solving skills. This normally comprises one parallelogram, one square and five triangles. The objective is to form one specific shape using all the seven shapes. This toy can help children think logically, develop visual-spatial awareness and understand mathematical concepts better.
Recommended for children four years and above
4. Rock-a-Stack: As a child, did you go to local fairs and try your best to ring or win an item from a stall? It used to be such fun even if you ended up empty-handed! A rock-a-stack can be engrossing and fun-filled too, for your child. This toy will help your child learn to sort and stack. What's more, there are other benefits involved. To begin with, the bright shades and swirling beads stimulate visual development in children while, placing rings on the pole strengthens hand-eye coordination. The toy also helps children learn to differentiate between colours.
Not recommended for children below 6 months
5. Flexi Ball: This brightly-coloured toy is great for keeping your child engrossed for hours. It also gets her to use her hands and muscles. The soft and flexible plastic material makes this ball easy to hold, bend or squeeze; the rolling rattle ball inside is a great way to captivate her attention with the fun sound it makes.
Recommended for children 5 months and above.
6. A 3D Snazzle: Children are sure to love this rainbow-coloured, animal-shaped toy which is also a puzzle. It is an exciting way for your child to learn about numbers, alphabets, colours and animal shapes. It aids colour-recognition, mental agility and brain development.
Recommended for children 3 years and above.
7. Wooden Intelligence Sticks: This toy is a great way of visually teaching your child how to do simple math calculations. Your child needs to pick up and place pieces in the correct order to play the game. This toy serves three purposes — it teaches children numbers, basic mathematical operations and helps children identify colours.
Recommended for children 3 years and above
Toys are a part of every child's growing-up years. Selecting the right toy at the right age will not only keep your child engrossed, but also contribute to his overall development. Toys that stimulate brain activity can strengthen cognition and other skills — thereby enabling your child's healthy growth into adulthood.
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