Toys…you (i mean your kids) can never have enough of them. Every other day there is a new toy in the market and they want it. I have always preferred books over toys (even as a child myself). But over these past 7 years as a parent I have realized that apart from entertainment, toys can be great educational tools. And you do not need expensive toys for that (which also made me realize that the kids are more interested in the packaging than the toy itself).
Thus, I started searching for and DIY- ing simple toys to be used as teaching aids.
The best constructive play. And I mean it when I say you cannot have enough of these. It is the oldest game I know of which has only evolved with time. Just hand over your kids blocks of different sizes, shapes, colours, textures and see their imagination grow. They will surprise you with what they can create. Great tool to spark their imagination, creativity and motor skills.
NESTING AND STACKING TOYS
Many people think of these toys as time pass and useless. I received the same expressions (from hubby dear) when I ordered stacking blocks and nesting eggs for my 2 year old. A few days later hubby dear was surprised to see sonny boy stacking the bowls in perfect order. Me: I TOLD YOU SO WALA EXPRESSION!!! STacking and nesting toys are the best tools for teaching the concept of size. Small to big and vice- versa (stacking can be done both ways). Plus, they can also be used for teaching colours and shapes.
A variety of these are available in the market. Helps with gross motor skills, problem solving, precision and fine motor skills.
These are the most simple yet versatile teaching aids. Plus, they are not restricted to a particular age. These can be used for older children as well. Flash cards aid memorization and exercise the process of active recall. These are inexpensive, portable, make learning easy (I remember DIY- ing them for myself during college studies. They are better than reading up loads of material), versatile (you can teach anything and everything using these. Be it it as simple as numbers and shapes for toddlers to more complicated processes in higher classes).
MUMMY- BABY GAME/ MEMORY GAMES
This was my favourite game as a kid. Why mummy baby game? Because those were my first matching card game. I remember playing that card game the most. In fact I had saved those cards till my teenage years (no, i didnt play with them, but they were my fav you see). This matching activity is the best to boost memory, concentration, teaches them strategy and helps improve their reflexes. The most common pairs for toddlers can be shapes, colours, mummy- baby, everyday things (like toothbrush- toothpaste, fork- spoon etc.) and opposites. Matching can also be played using flash cards and real objects. Like show them a flash card of a banana and ask them to show you one in the house. This will target their pronunciation skills, object recognition and cognitive development.
Who doesnt love puzzles? At the age of 31 I still do. Helps develop hand- eye co-ordination, logical reasoning and problem solving skills, concentration and helps them sit at one place for sometime. Plus, the happiness of completing one!!! I make sure that both my kids play atleast one puzzle game everyday.
These games are for a little older kids (5 and up). Snakes & ladders, ludo, chess, monopoly etc. Apart from sitting at one place and strategy what these games teach is patience. You have to wait for your turn to win. This comes in handy when you are waiting in a queue, for your food at a restaurant or just driving around in traffic.
We can find various kinds of interlinking toys in the market. Interlinking pipes, sticks, stars, blocks etc. These toys help with creativity, hand eye co- ordination, fine motor skills and concentration. Plus you can use them to teach sorting activity like colours, shapes, size etc.
These are again for the older kids. Improved motor skills, imagination and problem solving is what you get. In addition it helps improve their visual motor skills (which will be helpful with reading & writing) and fine motor skills.
Simon says touch your nose, Simon says bring me a shoe, and Simon says clap your hands. The commands can be simple or complex (depending upon your child’s age). But this game is always a hit with the children, even in birthday parties. This game targets listening skills, interpretation skills, proprioception, spatial awareness and overall social development.
SENSORY PLAY- is of utmost importance for the development of fine motor skills, grips and grasps. It is the best unstructured way of learning.
All you need is a sand pit and sand toys and watch them kids be busy for hours. It helps develop sense of texture, grips & grasps, proprioceptive sense and constructional ability. Building structures in sand or simply writing letters and numbers, can go a long way in developing social skills, communication skills and language.
PAINTS AND COLOURS
This is a favourite with both my kids. All I do is hand them blank papers and colours of their choice and I get a good amount of time to finish up my pending work. Paints are a great way to boost imagination and creativity. It forces the brain to think and create. Plus improves the touch sensation and concentration.
PAPER TEARING & PASTING
One of the oldest ways used to develop textural sense, fine motor skills, grips and grasps. The additional pasting activity helps develop hand eye co- ordination as well. And yes, this too can keep them busy for quite sometime.
The most basic sorting activity is using pulses and aloo- pyaaz. Sorting activity is great to dedvelop hand- eye coordination, visual motor skills, hand grips & grasps and concentration.
A child’s brain undergoes maximum development during the initial 5 years of age. This is the period when the brain develops its numerous neural pathways and connections. The resulting network is the foundation for various skills that a person develops through the rest of his/ her life. We can help spark this development with certain fun games and activities.
As i read somewhere- ” When you use your imagination with your child, you help his brain make imagination pathways of its own”.
#LetsBlogwithPri is a Blog Train hosted by Prisha Lalwani, Author at Mummasaurus. Thank you Sneha for introducing me. Do read her post on benefits of a proper sleep and tips to put the kids to bed here https://itsatwinningstory.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/sleep-benefits-and-tips/ Also, I would like to introduce Shreya who blogs at https://fourtinyfeet.blog. Do read her post about caesarean awareness month here https://fourtinyfeet.blog/2019/04/22/april-is-international-caesarean-awareness-month-are-you-aware/