March 11, 2013 (Powerhomebiz.com) Stimulating a child’s brain using play has been shown to affect cognitive ability later in life
Instinctively parents are drawn to educational toys. Most parents are incredibly keen for their children to learn. They see toys with an educational element to them as an easy way to help their children to do so. After all children love to play, it is something children do naturally. They do not have to be nagged or cajoled into playing, but may need a lot of encouragement to sit down and learn something in a formal setting. Stimulation via play is, indeed, a great way to help children to learn new skills.
However, many of those parents who buy their children toys that stimulate them and teach them something are doing far more than making learning easier for their children. They are in fact making it easier for their children to learn throughout their lives.
Dr Martha J Farah, Phd, recently completed a study that looked at how stimulation affects children’s brains in the long term. She is a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of Pennsylvania, so specialises in studying the brain’s ability to absorb and use information.
The brain scans of 64 children, which were taken periodically over the course of 20 years, were studied. Those children who, at 4 years old, had access to toys that included an educational aspect such as books, or toys that taught them about colours and shapes had the best cognitive abilities as young adults. This means the toys parents choose for their childern can have a big impact on them in later life.
Real toys can also help children and their parents to bond
A study by Wooldridge and Shapka, two Vancouver psychologists, is also interesting. They looked at how much mothers and toddlers interacted whilst playing with a range of toys. Their study showed that when old-fashioned non-technical toys were played with, interaction levels between them rose. There is nothing wrong with high tech toys, but providing children with low-tech toys is also very important. Both of these studies highlight the importance of providing children, especially young children, with a good range of toys.
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