Do Educational Toys Promote Early Childhood Development? (Part VI, Cognitive Skills)

Cognitive development begins at infancy and continues through adolescence to adulthood. However, the first six years of a child’s growth and development are the most critical. The first three years of a child’s life is a period of incredible growth in all developmental areas. By age three a child’s brain has produced billions of cells and has made trillions of connections between these cells called synapses, which allows the various areas of the brain to communicate and function together. Studies show that the development of a child’s brain takes years to complete, which gives parents a window of opportunity to help their child establish educational and developmental patterns that will stimulate a life filled with learning experiences.It was once believed that infants lacked cognition until they learned and developed a language. However, research shows that from the time of birth, a child is not only aware of their surroundings but begins to learn. With this in mind, cognitive development can be defined as, the developmental process in which an infant becomes and intelligent, decision making, problem solving, information processing person. It is what gives a person the ability to acquire, organize, remember and use information to understand, relate with and function in the world around them.Most infants can focus on and follow moving objects as well as see colors and have simple reflex actions such as grasping and sucking. By three months they can recognize faces, imitate facial expressions and move their fingers and thumbs. By eight months they imitate sounds, recognize voices and respond when they hear their name as well as grasp and hold small objects. At twelve months a child can say “mama and dada”, make various sounds and eye-hand coordination develops.Welcome to your toddler. A toddler’s vocabulary develops and grows daily. Their speech become more intelligible and they begin to comprehend the meanings of words and small phrases. They begin to understand concepts of yes and no as well as right and wrong. They begin to recognize more objects and people as well as having a better understanding of emotions such as love, fear and trust. Their curiosity grows and is reflected by them asking questions.Your preschooler’s development has blossomed tremendously. Their speech is understandable, their vocabulary has increased and they enjoying sharing their experiences as they speak in longer sentences. Their social skills have developed to where they enjoy playing and cooperating with other children their age. They have attention span has significantly increased, they count to 100, begin spelling and reading.Educational toys provide both parent and child an avenue of fun filled interaction. Research has found that educational toys specifically designed and constructed to encourage and challenge the development of educational skills of children, when introduced into a child’s daily play, can increase a child’s IQ up to 50 points. Many educational toys provide an array of activities to enhance a child’s physical development, social skill development, emotional development, language development, creative development and cognitive development.As you drive through any neighborhood USA you will notice bumper stickers that say, “My child is an honor roll student at ______” It is the desire of most parents to have their child become the smartest kid on the block. For a child to grow in a proper manner both educationally and developmentally it is important that parents re-evaluate continuously how they can assist their children to become successful and productive adults. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow. Parents can begin today providing their children with the correct educational tools that can cause their child to become, “The smartest kid on the block”.