Every good parent wants their children to reach their intellectual potentials.
But that may prove difficult without knowing your child’s cognitive development and what roles toys play in this.
The term cognitive development covers a wide range of areas. It involves how a child acquires his intellectual ability. It also has to do with everything that makes a kid who he or she is.
Do toys affect these things?
Yes, they do. Playing with a toy has a direct (and indirect) impact on everything that has to do with a child’s growth and development.
But how do toys do this? Do all toys do this? If not, how do parents determine the rights toys that help their kids in cognitive development? Is it true, as many psychologists claim, that there are toys that can increase intelligence in kids?
We attempt to provide valid answers to these questions (and many more) in this post. This is to help parents build on their approach or develop new ones when it comes to buying toys for their kids.
What does cognitive development encompass?
Many parents don’t understand what is meant by cognitive development. For some, it is something that has to do with the positive growth of a child.
Cognitive development of a child simply refers to the process by which the mental abilities of the child mature and relate with the child’s environment, and (make use of that child’s inborn capabilities).
One of the take-away points here is that cognitive development is not short term but long term and will span several years or decades. The good thing is, it doesn’t depend on you parent alone. The child has roles to play too.
Good cognitive development requires the individual to later take over the process at some point.
Most of us are born with an innate ability to be curious and to be hungry for information about objects and the world around us. Through parenting, many have had this ability taken away from them.
If you, as a parent, can help your kids develop this ability, then you’re already teaching them how to further their cognitive development.
This is where toys come in. Toys can help your kids to be curious and inquisitive. Alas, not all toys so this. Here, we’ll be talking about those toys that can help kids further their cognitive development.
We’ll talk about a separate facet of cognitive development and the toys that can help in the development of that particular area.
Imagination and Creativity
Using the imagination is an important aspect of cognitive development. Because a child’s imagination can often take a form that is far from reality, many parents don’t know it’s an important aspect of positive development.
Imaginations help with a child’s problem-solving ability and
Toys that can help in this regard are pretend toys that allow kids to use their imagination. Action toys and dolls are also good at this.
Parents can help the child by encouraging him to create scenarios to use the toy.
Another important aspect of cognitive development is the verbal ability of the child. And this is not only about how kids express themselves orally alone. It also encompasses how the child put forward the ideas he conceives in his mind.
However, there are not many toys that help in this area. Many toys are designed for individual play. Even toys that involve multiple kids don’t do much in this regard. Parents will do well to supplement with other child resources if they really want to help with their kids’ verbal ability.
We’ll move straight to another very important aspect of a child’s cognitive development, critical thinking. Critical thinking has to do with how a kid evaluates a situation and find solutions to difficult problems.
Different categories of toys can be employed in developing critical thinking in the little ones. Any toy that prompts your kids to (evaluate) the rules and laws that govern the physical world is an excellent one for developing critical thinking. For this, building sets are the best.
Toys that also allow your kids to systematically follow a set of instructions to achieve a stated end are also good in this regard. Science and experimental toy kits that involve growing plants, building a rocket, exploring nature, and using logic to solve a series of challenges e.g puzzles are also perfect for this.
It is widely accepted that critical thinking has a major role to play in living a successful life though it takes longer to develop.
Another area of cognitive development that researchers are saying is just as important as any other aspect is emotional intelligence. Your child needs to learn how to cope with the huge demand that arises from socializing with other humans on earth.
A critical mind and good imagination alone will not help the child become a complete adult. He or she has to learn how emotion impacts everything humans do so as to be in good shape in relating to others.
This is very important since emotional intelligence is more powerful than critical thinking in determining someone’s future success.
This is one area where toys can be put to good use. Dolls, action figures and stuffed animals playthings will work well. The logic here is to encourage your kids to care for these as if they are living things. If you want to take it a step further, allow your kid to communicate his or her feelings to the toy.