Friday, October 21, 2011

The Importance of Reading to Children

Reading to your children is a primary element in helping their development, in forming a close bond with them and directing them towards personal and academic growth. Reading to your children is a healthy habit that you are able to form from the time they are born; studies have shown that infants are soothed by the sound of their parent's voice. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "strongly recommends reading to children every day, starting after they are first born," because "reading stimulates the development of the brain, language and a closer emotional relationship with a child." As children develop, the reading process will become more interactive as they can follow along and begin asking questions for understanding.

Unfortunately many educators today are experiencing that children from various backgrounds are coming to school having never been read to before. It's not just children from lower income homes, but children from privileged homes as well who are spending more time in front of the television set, not interacting with their parents and siblings on a regular basis. Parents play a significant role in either encouraging or hindering child development.

Research has shown that children who are read to on a consistent basis are more likely to succeed academically. Children who are read to are able to form abstract concepts, they develop their imagination (rather than having the television do so for them), and build a broader vocabulary. So why is it then that many studies are showing that parents are spending less time reading to their children?

There can be a vast number of legitimate reasons why reading to your child can be difficult, primarily because finding the time together is hard. A few ideas might be to find a few stories on tape or CD and listen to them together while driving, to read while putting your child to bed- it's often helpful to read stories that you enjoy as well because you'll enjoy reading, or look into educational toys and interactive books. You might need to get creative to find time or ideas to read to your child with, but the benefits of doing so will last a lifetime.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Importance of Educational Toys That Promote Arts and Creativity

Children who are introduced to the rich experiences in learning through interacting with artistic elements typically develop a number of skill sets important for lifelong learning. However, the No Child Left Behind Act has put more emphasis on students learning math and language, than to focus on specialty classes such as art and music. Still, 91% of schools in the country are teaching the arts, though all don’t receive the same funding for their programs.
The reality is that all schools aren’t created equal. It’s important that parents help to facilitate learning within their homes. Many educational toys promote arts and creativity, which can help your child round out the learning skills they might not be while in school.
There are a number of skills and abilities that are proven to be more developed in children who are involved in the arts. Some of which are: visual-spatial abilities, self-criticism, reflection, critical thinking and the ability to apply what they’ve learned from mistakes. These are skills that are important for lifelong learning and development, yet are ignored to certain degrees because of teaching to the test practices in the classroom.
Providing your child with educational toys that encourage arts and creativity gives them the opportunity to build upon these skills and areas. There are a number of studies that even show children who take part in the arts usually test with high marks on standardized testing. Allowing your child to create and further develop crucial learning skills will only benefit their learning abilities. It is important that your child has the ability to interact with educational toys which promote the arts and creativity.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Benefits of Active Play for Toddlers

The term “toddler” is used to describe young children between the ages of 1 to 3 years. During these early years there are many cognitive, emotional and social developments which help to mold a child into their future selves. In this phase of their life, environmental and learning factors are crucial for reinforcing positive and healthy growth in your child. Active plays games and educational toys are a great way to assist their development process.

As we age, our idea of being “active” is often associated with playing sports or working out at a gym. However, being physically active for children comes through their ability to play. Through play, children begin to build a foundation for learning by interacting with other children, adults and the world around them. Play is able to improve various aspects of a child's well-being, physically, emotionally and socially.

By providing opportunities for our children to play, we allow them experiences in which they can learn and develop. It's important that parents consider the environment they are introducing their children to, as well as the learning factors they will be exposed to. Active toys help to develop muscles, coordination and movement skills, while educational toys for kids help to reinforce opportunities for learning.

A nurturing environment helps to facilitate healthy development in your child. Help your toddler experience unique learning and development opportunities by providing them with active and educational toys.