The Best Toys for Your Child’s Brain Development
During the first few years of your child’s life, their brain begins to form neural pathways. This happens quickly as the senses are developing and babies learn to walk, talk, and explore the world around them. The most crucial time for your child’s brain development is from birth to about 8 years old, but changes and further development continues well into adulthood. Some things that can impact your child’s brain development include nutrition, exposure, and your child’s experience with people, places, and general stimuli in the world.
The Importance of Early Child Brain Development
Brain development is at an all-time high during those first few years of life, which is why it’s important to do everything you can to help positively shape this experience. In fact, 90% of brain growth happens before kindergarten. When early opportunities for mental development are nourished, your child’s brain will build lasting neural connections that can increase their health, focus, and even success in adult years. These early-built pathways help to improve motivation, problem solving, communication, and even self-regulation.
How Are Brain Connections Created?
Neural pathways in your child’s brain are created through repetitive positive interactions with the world around them. By engaging all their senses, they’ll begin to understand cause and effect relationships, stimulation, and personal interactions. One of the best ways for parents to do this is to continually speak to their child, play with them, and provide ongoing care and support. With exposure to books, stories, and songs, your child’s brain will improve in language and communication. These positive experiences have long-term positive effects while negative experiences lead to long-term negative consequences. Toys can help benefit a child’s developing brain by activating different neural pathways and exposing children to new ideas, pictures, sounds, and patterns.
Top 5 Toys for Your Child’s Brain Development
To help improve your child’s brain development, make sure that you take plenty of time to play with them, engage all their senses through sensory play, read books and tell stories, and utilize some great toys created to improve neural development. To help nurture your growing son or daughter, consider purchasing some of the following toys to encourage your child’s brain development:
There are a variety of different blocks that can be purchased for varying age groups. Younger children can simply hold them and manipulate them, eventually transitioning into the block puzzles or pieces of blocks that snap together like LEGOS®. The versatility in such a simple object is impressive; just make sure you use something that’s age appropriate.
Start with picture books for younger children and gradually increase the reading level. By having regular story time with your baby, you’ll help them create neural connections for reading and comprehension. As your child gets older, let them follow along with your reading and allow them to try reading a few sentences. Eventually, they’ll be reading the story to you.
Any type of puzzle is great for neural development. To boost your child’s brain, make sure that the puzzles you use are age appropriate and don’t let small children play with anything that may be a choking hazard. Look for toys that are all about problem solving to boost brain development in your child.
4. Art Supplies
Creativity is powered by the right side of the brain and needs neural connections just as much as the left. Utilize any and all child-safe art supplies to help your child’s creative brain blossom.
Let your child interact with singalongs, catchy TV music, or a musical instrument in some degree. Music helps to develop unique neural connections in the brain, which last well into adult years. This helps children develop both language and creativity.
There are an endless number of toys on the market today, but price and complexity don’t necessarily equal effectiveness. Sometimes, basic toys are better as they avoid unnecessary electronic stimulation. Utilize a mix of what you feel comfortable with. As long as you’re engaging your child’s brain in a positive way, you’ll be supporting their development.
Choosing the best toys for your child’s brain will depend on their age and developmental stage. Oftentimes, many of the best toys are the ones you’d least expect, including homemade toys or activities that only require you and your baby. For ongoing developmental support, we recommend enrolling your child in a preschool like A Child’s Place at the Ranches. As a premiere daycare center, we’re dedicated to providing quality, flexible childcare with an innovative curriculum that encourages hands-on learning, interactive experiences, and parent participation and involvement—all of which help to boost your child’s brain development. To learn more, call us today at 480-907-7590.