How Kids Learn from Toys - And How Parents Should Fuel That

How Kids Learn from Toys - And How Parents Should Fuel That

There is a belief that toys are just to play. This may be true in some cases, but many toys can also be educational for children. Suitable toys can help kids learn about colors, shapes, counting, and more.

 

Here are just a few examples of how kids can learn while playing with toys.

 

Toys For Physical Development

 

Kids often imitate what they see the adults around them doing. Because of this, parents can use toys to help kids learn specific physical skills. A good example is a construction toy.

 

 

RC bulldozer toy

 

Kids love to build and knock down structures using their hands and small tools like hammers or wrenches. This type of play helps promote hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and logical thinking.

 

Another example is a toy kitchen. Cooking can be educational because it teaches kids about actual world chores like washing dishes or cooking dinner. The kitchen also promotes healthy habits like drinking water rather than sugary beverages or soda.

 

toy kitchen

 

Toys That Promote Language Development

 

Language skills develop in stages. Young children learn words through listening and repeating what they hear. This is why educational toys for this age group should either involve a lot of minor parts to make sounds or have an included CD or online component.

 

word learning flash card machine

 

Toys For Intellectual Development

 

Games like chess, checkers, or jacks require some logic skills to complete successfully.

 

Matching games promote logical thinking at an early age as well.

 

magnetic chess for children

 

When kids play with these toys, they gradually learn how to think ahead and solve problems.

 

Toys For Social Development

 

Kids learn how to interact with other people through playing with toys. A classic example is the baby doll. Kids want to take care of it like they see their parents doing with real babies.

 

stuffed goose toy

 

They also can pretend that the toy is hurt or sick, which helps them understand social situations and develop empathy. Playing pretend is a big part of childhood, and kids can learn many valuable life skills from their favorite toys.

 

How Can You Use Your Kid's Favorite Toys to Teach Them Something New?

 

Suppose your kids are obsessed with toys. Each one of them thinks that their own is the favorite! There are numerous benefits to encouraging toy play in children, including increased language skills and social interaction.

 

magnetic educational toy

 

 

Toys can also help kids develop fine motor coordination, teach them how to count, and even introduce basic science concepts! Not to mention that we love all of the fun toys available today. As a parent, we try to find educational toys for preschoolers.

 

Here are some ideas on using their favorite toys to teach them something new!

 

1- Encourage Reading with Board Books and Flashcards

 

Toy libraries are excellent for developing literacy skills in children! These libraries will allow kids to check out books and toys, both educational.

 

2- Encourage Counting Skills with Play Food Sets

 

Counting isn't the most exciting thing for kids, but it is essential for future math skills. Young children learn to count by playing with play food sets made of colorful plastic pieces.

 

These toys help kids understand the concept of counting and even advanced concepts like taking items away or adding new elements.

 

3- Use Toy Tools To Teach Fine Motor Skills

 

Learning to use simple tools can be difficult, especially for young kids. Most children's toolsets are made of plastic, which allows them to safely use fundamental tools without damaging.

 

Toolsets are fantastic for encouraging pretend play in kids and improving their fine motor coordination skills.

 

variable track car toy

 

Conclusion

 

Toys are great for babies. They teach them new skills in life, but suitable toys are necessary to create a positive experience that encourages learning without frustration.

 

When your child is having difficulty with a toy or it just doesn't appeal to them, you should replace it with another one. There are plenty of educational toys available so that you can find one perfect for your child.

 

 

February 24, 2022 — Gabriel Tanois
Why Kids Still Play Magnetic Balls and Rods in 2022?

Why Kids Still Play Magnetic Balls and Rods in 2022?

Magnetic balls and rods seem old fashion today: they are not electric; they don't attach as firmly as Lego blocks; they won't chat with kids as an AI robot does.

 

For some people, magnetic toys are just colorful pieces of bores. However, Time Magazine gave magnetic toys the third rank in its Best Toys of 2021 list. It makes people wonder, why do kids still play magnetic balls and rods in 2022?

 

 kid with magnetic blocks

 

To figure this out, we need to learn what magnetic balls and rods are, how they are designed, and what they can do for children present-day.

 

What Are Magnetic Balls and Rods

In simple terms, magnetic balls and rods are a set of magnetic toys that can connect to each other. They often come in various forms: straight rods, curved rods, and balls. They are capable of composing different geometric shapes like cubes, spheres, and other polyhedrons.

 

magnetic balls and rods

 

With proper structuring, people can make really complicated shapes like pendants and UFOs. Moreover, thanks to the magnetic joints, a piece of magnetic work is enabled with a lot of movements: spin, swing, and even transform.

 

How Magnetic Rods and Balls Work

While the possible combinations are countless, the working philosophy of magnetic balls and rods is comparatively simple. The rods have magnets pieces at both ends. The attracting poles are so strong they can form a solid connection and into various forms like sticks and hooks.

 

how magnetic toys work

 

As for the magnetic balls, they connect to the rods with the iron balls that fit perfectly with the spherical dents at the ends of the rods. The balls serve as joints for complicated structures.

 

It is a classic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) toy for kids. How can such a simple toy be the top choice of many schools and parents for STEM education tools in 2022?

 

Why Magnetic Balls and Rods Are Top STEM Toys in 2022?

As we describe above, magnetic balls and rods are not just a fun toy but also a handy tool for educators and parents in children's early STEM education.

 

The reason they are more than suitable for this purpose is that magnetic balls and rods involve a lot of scientific and geometric knowledge. This includes magnetism, structure, balance of weight, and spatial knowledge.

 

Learn magnetism with toys

Magnetism is the foundation of all magnetic toys. A magnetic rod has opposite poles installed inside both ends: the north pole and the south pole. Parents and educators can teach children about magnetic polarity by letting rods attract and repel each other.

 

magnetic balls and rods

 

They can also learn extensively about the magnetization process, magnetic fields, and the magnetic poles of the earth. Parents are also advised to tell them stories of the application of magnets in industry, life, and science research.

 

Develop structural thinking with toys

Magnetic balls and rods are a kind of magnetic blocks. They are designed to develop children's intelligence concerning structure and shapes.

 

Parents and educators can begin teaching children to play with magnetic balls and rods from simple 2D shapes like squares, triangles, letters, and numbers.

 

structural teaching with toys

 

When kids are familiar with simple structures, they can advance to more complicated ones like grids and stars. They can even evolve into 3D structures: combine facades into a building, or triangles into a mary-go-round.

 

It is not just a process of fun and entertainment. By making different 2D and 3D shapes with magnetic balls and rods, children can learn a lot of things. They can get knowledge of geometry before school. They become keen on observing the world around them. They can memorize numbers and the alphabet better.

 

Kids will also learn an important skill from playing magnetic balls and rods, that is, finding the balance of weight. This skill is required in the process of building a structure that won't fall, and a structure that will spin. The skill of balance is also vital for children when they learn to swim, skate, and ride a bicycle.

 

Acquire spatial knowledge with toys

The sense of space (including distance, relativity, and perspective) is a critical sense of children. It affects their eye-hand coordination, motion control, and almost everything they do in everyday life.

 

 

 

For example, parents can guide their kids to consider how many rods they need to put to make a facade, or how to arrange the magnetic balls to point in the correct direction.

 

More commonly, children can learn words and concepts of spatial relations like left, right, above, and below while playing with magnetic blocks. Remember how you learn those words? Probably through play too.

 

Even in 2022, kids still need purposely-designed, educator-proven tools to learn fundamental knowledge, sense, and skills for their early development. That is why magnetic balls and rods are still one of the top choices of many classrooms and families, and also highly recommended by Ealingkids to parents and teachers who are looking for safe and intuitive toys for children's early education.

January 27, 2022 — Gabriel Tanois
15 New Year's Resolutions that Work for Kids

15 New Year's Resolutions that Work for Kids

Making New Year's resolutions with kids is a good way to start the Year 2022. Proper goals help kids grow good habits and abilities. See our suggestions for resolutions that work.
December 25, 2021 — Gabriel Tanois
Why Puzzles Can Benefit Children's Early Development

Why Puzzles Can Benefit Children's Early Development

Puzzles are a classic toy for children of all ages. As they come in various types, shapes, materials, and purposes of design, even infants can play with simple puzzles and explore the world in early stages. As children grow up, parents can offer them more complicated puzzles as a challenge to improve their capabilities comprehensively. Many life tasks children may encounter are actually very similar to puzzles. For example, fitting items into a box, or piling up stuff to a certain shape.

 

 

According to ChildCareQuarterly.com, puzzle play is a great tool for the development of children's cognitive skills, fine motor skills, and also their social, emotional, and linguistic skills. Parents, educators, and caregivers can expect very fruitful results with proper puzzle play settings. Here are five things children learn through puzzle play.

 

puzzle toy game

Verb and Spatial Vocabulary

When instructing babies to play puzzles, parents can use words such as turn, flip, and rotate and show them the actions accordingly so that they not only learn how to build puzzle sets but also comprehend verbs through practice. Children also learn spatial words such as above, below, and besides when parents describe to them the position and order of puzzle pieces during the play.

 

Sequencing Capability

Puzzle sets such as sequences puzzles require the sequence of putting pieces together to be exact and accurate. Children hear and learn ordinal numbers and words that indicate relative positions in a sequence, such as first, second, third, and last. Parents can also encourage young children to retell the sequence in which they put the puzzle pieces together to further develop their understanding of sequencing.

 

numeric puzzles

 

Problem-Solving Capability

Through recognizing shapes and sequences of puzzle pieces and putting them together to make a whole, children learn to work through problems and reach solutions. They may need to learn to set aside the piece they hope to put in the puzzle while searching for one that fits in the slot they need. They also may learn there are multiple paths to the puzzle’s completion as they do a puzzle over and over again. When they work on puzzles with peers, they also describe their strategies to others and work through difficulties collaboratively.

 

problem solving capability

 

Task Completion and Persistence

The process of putting together a puzzle set has a definite end - upon its completion. Children encounter frustration when they cannot easily solve a puzzle, and when they work through these emotions, they enjoy the success of task completion. Working through these feelings helps children develop persistence, or the ability to keep going in the face of difficulty.

 

Fine motor and hand-eye coordination

Children refine their fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills as they manipulate puzzle pieces to put the puzzle together. They develop the small muscles in their hands that allow them to grasp and move puzzle pieces with precision.

 

early development toys

 

Older infants and young toddlers may enjoy knobbed puzzles that are easy to grasp. To enhance children's visual recognition capability, parents can instruct them to find success with a puzzle set that composes an image. For example, a puzzle set of animals like cat, dog, and bird pieces is ideal for parents to teach children how to fit puzzle pieces in their slots. For toddlers and preschoolers that have become more skillful, parents can offer them “tray puzzles” with multiple pieces fitting together to make a single picture. As toddlers and preschoolers grow, they may start to enjoy trying jigsaw puzzles and more complex tray puzzles. Three-dimensional puzzles, such as stacking rings or a nesting cup, also challenge their skills and thinking.

 

Young children with access to puzzles that are the correct level of difficulty for their current developmental stage can be significantly benefited from puzzle play. Parents should provide appropriate instructions and also sufficient freedom for children to play puzzles independently. This allows children to build their small muscles, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving strategies through repeated practice. They can enjoy the feeling of accomplishing a task on their own as they put the puzzles together and take them apart. It is helpful to keep these puzzles in a place where children can access and clean them up independently. Rotating the selection of puzzles will help maintain their interest too. There are numerous types of puzzles for children in the market. Here are a few outstanding ones that are beneficial for children.

Wooden Castle Block Puzzles

As researched by marketers, girls generally favor doll plays over puzzle plays. While both types of toys are beneficial in some ways, puzzle plays can improve many aspects of girls' intelligence when dolls cannot. To attract girls to puzzle play, parents can choose the kinds of puzzles that are designed for girls, such as the wooden castle block puzzles. 

 

wooden castle block puzzles

 

Kids can build dreamy castles, houses, and many other buildings with castle blocks. Young children can also learn about shapes safely with the BPA-free, well-rounded wooden pieces. By inviting small human figure models inside the castles they build, children can also develop their emotional capability while having fun.

Wooden Tool Kit Puzzles

Puzzles are about building things, so why not play it with creativity? The Carpenter's Set includes a wooden toolbox, a series of tools, and puzzle pieces of various shapes. This all-wood set allows children to experience a carpenter's career and build puzzle works like a professional. It is ideal for developing children's intelligence and their social perception.

 

carpenter's set wooden puzzle toys

 

Magnetic Race Car Track Puzzles

When car toys meet puzzle tracks - it means endless fun for kids! Magnetic puzzles are another popular type of puzzle. Compared with ordinary ones, magnetic puzzles are easier to connect and provide more ways to form unique works. Magnetic puzzle track pieces allow children to build car tracks based on their imagination rather than a set rule. Children can be inspired to dig in and learn about engineering and science. The power cars also make it a great party game for kids to learn to cooperate and share with friends, improving their social capabilities.

 

car track puzzles magnetic puzzle toy

 

Puzzle plays are truly beneficial for children's early development in many ways. When parents are buying puzzle toys for children, remember to see if they are BPA-free, safely polished, and large enough to not choke young kids. Parents are suggested to go to reliable shops like Ealingkids.com for reliable, high-quality, and well-designed puzzle toys as gifts for their children.

 

 

 

 

December 15, 2021 — Gabriel Tanois
How Do Parents Improve Children's Eye-Hand Coordination | Ealingkids

How Do Parents Improve Children's Eye-Hand Coordination | Ealingkids

Eye-hand coordination - you may have heard of this many times from educators, parenting blogs, and experts. However, regardless of the sea of articles and videos talking about it, some parents aren't still clear about what eye-hand coordination is, why it is important, and how parents improve children's eye-hand coordination.

 

children playing eye-hand coordination toys

What Is Eye-hand Coordination?

Let's learn about it from our daily life. When someone throws something at you, say a baseball, you need to use your eyes to tell the distance, velocity, and track of the incoming ball. Then you can raise a hand to fetch it. When I am writing this article, I need to occasionally look down at my keyboard so that I know where to put my fingers correctly. There are examples of eye-hand coordination.

As per how Wikipedia explains, "eye-hand coordination is the coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement and the processing of visual input to guide reaching and grasping along with the use of proprioception of the hands to guide the eyes." In simple terms, the eye-hand coordination is about eyes and hands helping each other do their jobs.

 

Why Is Eye-hand Coordination Important?

Behind the seemingly apparent concept, there is a complicated mechanism that involves vision, movement, and how brains receive signals and turn them into commands. For example, people with dispaired vision problems (like strabismus) or brain injuries are more likely to display disordered hand movements like failure to touch, grasp, and hold. Before it was scientifically studied, people tended to see movement disruption and visual handicap separately. Now with a better understanding of the mechanism, therapists can rehabilitate patients with comprehensive approaches, thus increasing the patients' chance to resume their normal life.

For parents, it is also important to understand the coordination between eyes and hands. Parents need to adopt a series of approaches to help children develop their eye-hand cooperation abilities. A research report by Indiana University shows that there is a strong connection between hand-eye coordination and their abilities to communicate and learn. Another research by the Association for Psychological Science reveals that children's ability of eye-hand coordination also correlates with their writing, maths, and reading skills. In simple terms, helping children develop their eye-hand coordination can also improve their elementary capabilities at school and in society.

 

How Do Parents Improve Children's Eye-hand Coordination?

Montessori educators suggest a series of exercises to develop children's eye-hand coordination. Based on the kid's age, parents can adopt different exercises.

Use sound toys to attract their attention

Toys that make sounds can attract babies' and toddlers' attention, and guide them to use their eyes to explore things around them. For example, this Audible Flashcard Machine is ideal for toddlers to use their hands to insert the card and their eyes to identify the word. When the sound meets with the word, kids would discover the fun in exploration with their hands and eyes.

 

audible flashcard for preschoolers

Use building blocks to train them to grasp and move subjects

Building blocks are recommended by many educators and therapists as a means to develop children's eye-hand coordination at an early age. Parents can teach children to recognize colors and shapes with building blocks. It helps children use their brains to process the information received by their eyes. Children can use their hands to feel the shapes, distances, and sizes of the blocks, and move them to a place as their eyes guide them.

Remember to choose toys that are safely designed and made for kids. The recommended diameter for spherical toys is above 1.25 inches, according to kidshealth.org. In the Ealingkids Magnetic Rods and Balls set, the magnetic balls are sized 1.4 inches in diameter. With proper guidance from parents, children can be safe from choking hazards with the toy set and enjoy a fast and healthy early education.

 

magnetic toys

Use art toys to enhance brain development

Art exercises stimulate children's brain growth with more synapses pathways between brain cells, as suggested by neuroscientists. The learning of writing, reading, communicating, and many other skills also rely on synapses, so it's important to help them develop their synapses through art exercises. In addition, art exercises that involve hands like drawing, puzzles, and origami train children with better fine motor skills, which will help them learn to write faster.

There are many art toys in the market. A comprehensive choice would be the Ealingkids Wooden Art Easel. It allows children to doodle on its easy-clean whiteboard, as well as play with numbers, letters, and animal pins on the magnetic board side. Parents can also use the easel to teach children to read and write at home or outdoor. The organic materials would keep children safe from hazardous chemicals.

 

double side easel for children

Conclusion

We already know that eye-hand coordination is important for children's physical and intellectual development. With the world of toys provided by Ealingkids, parents can find high-quality, safe, and innovative tools to develop children's eye-hand coordination.

November 10, 2021 — Gabriel Tanois
How to Keep Children Away from Phones?

How to Keep Children Away from Phones?

How to Keep Your Children Away from Phones?

Many teens and children are addicted to phones, as observed by EalingKids investigators. A survey suggested that 47% of parents say that their kids are addicted to smartphones. Besides physical damage to children's eyes and distraction from their study and rest, phone addiction can also cause a lot of emotional problems like anger, depression, and irritability to kids.

 children addition to phones

However, phone addiction is hard to get rid of, because many applications, especially mobile games, are designed to constantly occupy users' attention. Children, unlike adults, are harder to manage their time and energy. That's why parents need to help children to stay away from phones.

How to Keep Your Children Away from Phones

There are many ways to keep children off the phones. The principle is to distract them from phones, and help them use phones wisely.

Restrict their screen time

Many phone manufacturers now allow parents to control the time of screen use. That could reduce children's time with the phone.

Guide them to do the right things with phones

In the pandemic era, many schools provide online classes for students. Parents should help kids use their phones wisely for studies and learning, and avoid spending too much time on entertainment and games.

kids addicted to smartphone

Take over phones with toys and books

Many books and toys are made to develop children's intelligence and are also fun to read and play with. Here are some highly recommendable toys.

Magnetic balls and rods

Magnetic balls and rods are building toys with magnets. Children can use them to make various shapes like letters, numbers, animals, and even 3D shapes. The magnetic balls can function as joints, allowing their creations to move freely. While creating their toys, children can learn maths, physics, geometrics, and languages. They would also develop their self-assertion and capabilites of logistical thinking and problem solving.

 

magnetic building blocks

Instant-print cameras

Kids who like to take selfies with phones can also use a toy camera and printer for that now. Moreover, they can print their photographs instantly with the built-in thermal printer. With some easily accessible pens, children can color the printed photos. The camera printer uses BPA-free paper to protect children's health. Kids can learn about colors and the world around them. They would grow fond of playing outdoor instead of staying in their rooms with phones.

 

camera with printer toy

Magnetic tracks and racecars

Magnetic racecar tracks are a great toy for children's early education. With magnetic tiles, they can build a complete set of racing tracks that can actually run a racecar on. There are numerous possible combinations of straight and round tracks. Kids can spend all day on them without their phones. Besides, the accomplishment of building something is way bigger than anything mobile games can provide.

 magnetic tiles for kids

There are many cool toys that can keep children away from phones. However, parents are also suggested to put down their phones and spend more time with children. Shop EalingKids.com for more fun toys that are good for parents and kids to play together.

 

September 02, 2021 — Gabriel Tanois
magnetic rods and balls

What Are Magnetic Balls and Rods?

What Does A Set of Magnetic Balls and Rods Include?

Magnetic balls and rods are a kind of magnetic toys. They include straight rods, curved rods, and balls of various colors. The rods are embedded with magnets, and the balls are iron balls coated with high-quality plastics.

 

magnetic balls and rods

How Do Magnetic Toys Work?

The magnets at both ends of the rods attract each other to form different shapes: sticks, hooks, circles, etc. The iron balls fit perfectly with the spherical dents at the ends of the rods so that the balls can serve as joints for the combinations.

 

how magnetic rod and ball work

Why Do We Need Magnetic Toys?

Many magnetic toys are not only fun but also useful for education. Magnetic balls and rods, for example, are a recognized tool for children's STEM education. They can learn about colors, numbers, shapes, and even the alphabet from shapes parents teach them to build. They can also develop their geometric thinking about structures, spaces, and forces. Magnetism, an invisible force to keep things together, will also breed their curiosity into science.

 

Magnetic toy for STEM learning

What Can We Do with Magnetic Balls and Rods?

We can build many things with magnetic balls and rods, from 2D numbers and letters to animals and vehicles. This can be a great method to let kids learn from play.

More sophisticatedly, we can help children build 3D structures, like 3D horses, furniture, and many more. Kids will start to learn about structures, spaces, lengths, and numbers when they design their creations.

With the balls as joints, all the creations are movable. For example, children can build a mary-go-round and have it spin with a gentle push. The fun to play with their works will keep kids away from smartphones all day.

 

magnetic toys for STEM education

Are Magnetic Toys Safe?

Many parents are concerned about the safety of magnetic balls and rods, most of which is choking hazard of the balls. In simple terms, it can be as safe as any other toy if played correctly.

safe magnetic balls

Choose parts that are hard to swallow.

Kidshealth.org recommends spherical toys should be above 1.25 inches in diameter to be safe for kids. Our magnetic balls are approximately 1.4 inches in diameter.

Only give magnetic toys to children old enough to play safely.

We demand that the magnetic toys should be given only to children at least 3 years old. They need to be old enough and trained to listen to take orders from parents.

Play with kids and keep them from dangerous moves.

While our magnetic rods and balls are safe by design, dangers could also happen if not used correctly. In that case, parents should play together with kids, and monitor them all the while. Keep children from dangerous moves such as putting a toy into their mouths and throwing toys at others.

 

Where to Buy Magnetic Toys?

There are many online shops selling magnetic toys. Prices vary and so do qualities. Ealing Kids only sells what is advertised, and offers great discounts to customers new and old. If you don't want to miss our daily offer, remember to subscribe to our newsletter.

August 25, 2021 — Gabriel Tanois
Gardening with Children

Gardening with Children

 

Like most sensory experiences, gardening with children can be a hectic, messy and usually, an untidy affair! Children playing with soil, pulling up plants and strewing seeds everywhere however, is a fantastic learning experience and one which allows the development of a whole host of new skills. Gardening activities can provide hours of fun and introduce moments of awe and wonder to children. They can watch plants growing from seeds, and marvel at fruits and vegetables increasing in size as they learn how to feed and nurture them. Children will begin to make the connection that the food we eat begins its life in the soil around us.

 

Benefits of Gardening in Early Years

There are numerous reasons to get children involved with gardening activities, from encouraging teamwork skills to improving self-confidence, to developing vocabulary skills. Here are just a few of the benefits that gardening can offer to children:

Encourages Interaction and Communication

The experience of growing and planting provides many opportunities for children to talk with friends, family, and other teachers about what they have learnt and practised in the garden. They will enjoy describing their activities and making use of the new words they have discovered.

Motivation to Learn

Learning about sowing, growing, weeding and planting are exciting topics for children. They will feel motivated and eager to learn even more new skills as their experiences in the garden develop.

Caring for Clothes and Hygiene

Taking part in gardening activities involves working with soil, seeds and water. Children will learn how to protect their clothes by wearing overalls and wellies. They will also understand the importance of washing their hands after they have finished their tasks.

Time to get gardening…

Nowadays, children are spending more time indoors than ever before, so it’s vitally important that we encourage every early years setting to plant a garden with their children. The great thing about gardening is that there isn’t a set idea of how to do things. Each garden will be different, from rolling acres to container planting but the outcome will be the same, an enriching experience of awe and wonder. For some children it will be their first opportunity to spend time playing in the dirt, reminding us that for some very young children, the journey is often more important than the destination.

I believe that when your child knows that there will be afternoon tea outdoors, she can't wait to pick up the picnic basket and all kinds of food to play. "Great! Mom!" Then followed the adults excitedly, really looking forward to it!

July 02, 2021 — Ealingkids
Why kids are obsessed with cars, trucks, and other vehicles?

Why kids are obsessed with cars, trucks, and other vehicles?

Every kid has their own obsessions. Dolls, plushies, dinosaurs, remote controls, cell phones — they might have a toy box with a wide range of playthings to keep them entertained, but there's a firm favorite they always reach for first.

Researchers call this phenomenon "extremely intense interests" (EIIs), and have found that they start to emerge at around 18 months of age and are evident in around a third of preschool-aged children. For lots of children, maybe even your own, this obsession revolves around cars. And although the sex divide in the toy world remains, it's not only little boys who are drawn to all things with wheels. My 20-month-old daughter and her treasured red bus is testament to this.

So what's the big deal about cars, trucks, trains, and buses?

From age 0-2, children are in the sensorimotor stage of development, explains Alyssa Wilkins, a music therapist who specializes in early childhood development and the treatment of children with autism. "They are learning by absorbing everything through their senses — sight, touch, taste, smell, hear," Wilkins says. "Toys and real-life objects like cars are very sensorily engaging. Kids can interact with toy cars, trucks, etc. through spinning their wheels, watching them move in a variety of directions, or hearing the sounds they make."

Plus, kids are just naturally drawn to loud, moving objects — it's all fun sensory input. "They see the lights on the cars, the rolling wheels, the sound of the revving engine and it's very engaging," Wilkins says. "Kids will always be drawn to flashy and loud things because that is what engages their brain and sensory systems."

Another appeal of toy vehicles is that they're typically small enough to fit in a child's hand. "Cars become the favorite of both boys and girls because they're the kind of toy that they can take — and play with — anywhere," says licensed professional counselor Roseann Capanna-Hodge, EdD. "And because they can pop their cars in their pocket or carry them around, they're easy to get attached to."

A car is also a cause-and-effect toy — it teaches children that their actions can make something happen. "It's super interesting and exciting for kids to learn that they can change something in their environment," Capanna-Hodge says. "With cars, kids can work out all kinds of fun scenarios like going up the wall or having a crash."

The benefits of toy cars are numerous, then. Experts agree they should be part of both boys' and girls' play environments.

"The toy car is an inexpensive, accessible toy that promotes learning, environmental exploration, independence, motor skills, problem-solving, and creativity," Capanna-Hodge says. And above all, they're fun. "There's nothing like hearing a kid work through a crash scenario with all the sounds and listening to how when one road closes they find another or watching the thrill as the car goes up a wall to avoid a monster."

While every toy car has the same basic parts, how your child plays with it depends on their unique characteristics, and nobody knows exactly what is at the root of a kid's individual play style. For instance, one child might "drive" their cars into the wall, another might line them up, bumper to bumper, and another might wrap them in a blanket.

Every child is unique in how they engage with toys, and the reasons for their play style may be diverse and complex. However, children often interact with materials in similar ways to how their families interact with them. "If a child sees a sibling or parents modeling play with a car going fast down a track, they are likely going to interact with the toy that same way," Wilkins says.

Some children seek sensory engagement from their toys in different ways. "The feel and sound of crashing cars might be interesting to them, or they may like organization and neatness so lining their toys up in a certain way may bring them calm," Wilkins says.

Ultimately, how your kid plays with their toy vehicles could be a little window into what regulates or excites them.

 

May 19, 2021 — Ealingkids
Our little craftsman is very busy now!

Our little craftsman is very busy now!

Remember how much we loved toys when we were kids? Especially the ones that had us using our skills like lego sets, building blocks, doctor sets, and other such interesting toy sets. It’s been a long time since then and the different kinds of toys available in the market now are astounding. Kids these days seem to be smarter, sharper, and pick up skills faster than our generation. At an early age, they learn how to skills if they are familiarized with them. So why not engage them with play tools (safe ones, of course) that allow them to learn while they watch their parents fix things around the house?

As all dads know, fixing stuff is satisfying. Kids know this, too, and, understandably, want in: most kids love to “fix” and “build” (ie., bang things together) with play tools. But a great kids’ tool set, one that looks good and is well made, goes way beyond just being an engaging and fun toy.

Tools are also what are called “real-world toys,” which mimic what kids see parents using when we’re doing our real-world, grown-up things, like pruning bushes or drilling a screw into the wall. Real-world toys help kids, especially younger ones, to make sense of the world around them and understand how things work.

Note: The workers are playing!The battery-powered pretend drill tool included in the toy set actually offers realistic drilling noises when the button is pushes There is nothing more fun than these real tools. The important thing is to find a part of the job. This children's tool kit by BeebeeRun is equipped with 28 tools and accessories, so your little craftsman can get the job done. And all of these are stored in a realistic looking tool backpack, so your child can feel like you.

Gone are the days of basic plastic tools. Some of these tool kits they're making for kids are fancy enough to look like the real deal — all the more fun for young builders! Now they can really feel like they're helping out on DIY projects around the house. Kids love to mimic whatever they see their parents doing, so if you're someone who loves building at home, it might be a good idea to pick up a tool kit or workbench for your kiddo to hammer along with .

And if your little tinkerer is ready to get their hands dirty and build their own creation, there are plenty of tool sets out there that come with their own blueprints. They can feel a sense of accomplishment when they successfully build their own airplane, tool caddy , birdhouse, and so much more!

May 19, 2021 — Ealingkids
5 Benefits of Outdoor Learning in Early Years

5 Benefits of Outdoor Learning in Early Years

The benefits of learning outside the classroom are endless. Being outside allows children to express themselves freely and unlike an indoor classroom, there aren’t any space constraints meaning children can jump, shout and explore to their hearts content. The sense of freedom playing outdoors brings is fantastic for a child’s development, both physically and mentally.

The importance of outside play in early years can’t be underestimated and below are just some of the many benefits it offers to children:

Encourages an Active Lifestyle

Children who learn to play outdoors are much more likely to continue to enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, running and cycling as they get older. Given the number of gadgets and new technology available to us all, outdoor play is an extremely important factor in combatting an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

Appreciation of Nature and the Environment

Learning in an outdoor environment allows children to interact with the elements around us and helps them to gain an understanding of the world we live in. They can experience animals in their own surroundings and learn about their habitats and lifecycles.

Develops Social Skills

Indoor spaces can often feel overcrowded to children and naturally, they may feel intimated in this type of environment. More space outdoors can help children to join in and ‘come out of their shells’. Giving children outdoor learning experiences offers them a chance to talk about what they have done with their friends, teachers and parents.

Encourages Independence

The extra space offered by being outdoors will give children the sense of freedom to make discoveries by themselves. They can develop their own ideas or create games and activities to take part in with their friends without feeling like they’re being directly supervised. They’ll begin to understand what they can do by themselves and develop a ‘can do‘ attitude, which will act as a solid foundation for future learning.

Understanding Risk

Being outdoors provides children with more opportunities to experience risk-taking. They have the chance to take part in tasks on a much bigger scale and complete them in ways they might not when they’re indoors. They can learn to make calculated decisions such as ‘should I jump off this log?’ or ‘can I climb this tree?’

Outdoor learning resources don’t have to be expensive. You can utilise objects you’ll find outside such as logs, tree stumps and sticks. Add in some fabric or an old sheet and you can create a simple den which will provide hours of play for children.

 

May 19, 2021 — Ealingkids
4 Essentials Skills Kids Learn Playing with Blocks

4 Essentials Skills Kids Learn Playing with Blocks

When comparing a set of building blocks to sophisticated-looking toys and gadgets, can playing with blocks compare? Science says, yes!

You might be surprised to learn that building blocks have been scientifically proven to build important skills. Research has shown that block play supports the development of social skills, abstract thinking, creativity, mathematical thinking, literacy and more.

  1. Block Play Builds Social Skills

Playing blocks with other children helps kids to make friends and learn how to cooperate. The study, Social Skills: Laying the Foundation for Success found that blocks are a primary “learning material that encourages cooperative play.”

Competitive block-building systems, like Blocks Rock, also help children learn how to navigate competitive situations with their friends and classmates in a healthy environment.

When trying to build difficult structures, children can learn how to work together, and problem solve as a team.

  1. Block Play Builds Physical & Motor Skills

While they are reaching for blocks, stacking blocks and making blocks fit together, children are developing their hand-eye coordination. They also build finger and hand-strength. Block building helps to fine-tune motor skills, and in kindergarten and primary grade children, it develops skills in the area of design, representation, balance and stability.

  1. Block Play Builds Creative Skills

When playing with blocks, children can build structures from their minds that did not exist or re-create a template that fills them with awe. This encourages their artistic creativity! Beyond artistic creativity, building blocks allow children to practice creative problem-solving skills. Another study found that kids who played with blocks instead of a puzzle performed better on divergent problems and showed more creativity in their attempts to solve the problems.

4.Block Play Builds Intellectual Skills

Finally, building blocks develop intellectual skills in a variety of areas, such as math, spatial reasoning and literacy/language.

Researchers found that more complex block play during preschool years was correlated with higher mathematics achievement in high school, even after controlling for a child’s IQ.

In another study, sixth-grade students who spent more free time in construction play performed better on a test of mathematics word problems. Children also develop literacy and language skills as they describe what they are building.

Researchers have also found that block-building games improve spatial reasoning abilities in children to a greater degree than board games. Spatial reasoning is an important and foundational skill for STEM learning.

Which blocks should you choose for your children?

 

May 19, 2021 — Ealingkids