Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

By the time a child enters kindergarten, he or she is expected to have a certain level of mastery over the five developmental skills: gross motor, fine motor, language, cognitive, and social.

The most effective way for children to build these skills is through interactive play with a caring adult along with educational toys designed to stimulate development. Here you’ll find a break out of the five major developmental skills along with simple and fun toys that you can play with your child to encourage skill building.

Gross Motor skills require functionality of the major muscle groups that help a child balance, change positions, walk, run, jump, etc. Parent’s today often feel uneasy about allowing their children to run freely outside as was common in the past. Because children are spending more time inside, it’s important to remain conscious of the amount of time your child spends developing his or her gross motor skills.

Oversized cardboard play blocks and bricks allow children to use their large muscles and creativity as they stack the large blocks to build castles and fortresses. Any type of activity or game that puts the child inside of the action usually promotes gross motor skill development. Parents and children can both enjoy low impact sports games like croquet that encourage coordination, thought, and movement while promoting good sportsmanship.

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Fine motor skills are those that give us the ability to use our hands nimbly to eat, draw, use scissors, tie shoes, and most other activities throughout the day. In order to pass kindergarten children are tested and required to exhibit a certain level of mastery in fine motor abilities. Activities may include cutting, writing their names, etc.

Allowing a child to use an easel with paints and crayons is not only fun, but very helpful in developing fine motor skills. The vertical angle of an easel helps to further refine these skills even more so than drawing on a flat surface. Blocks of all kinds are also ideal for developing fine motor skills. In addition to the very useful basic block set, Bristle Blocks help children to build creations like rockets and airplanes that can be picked up and interacted with. Sets like the Big Top Flippity Flops encourage children to build imaginative scenes while setting up blocks to topple in sequence like dominoes.

Language skills not only include speaking, but also the use of non verbal body language, gestures, and interpersonal communication. Another important aspect of language skills is a child’s ability to read the body language and facial expressions of others to anticipate feelings and intentions.

Working with your child to create puppets and stories for a creative show in a colorful wooden puppet theater is an outstanding way for children to gain a full range of language skills. Because of the creativity that it ignites, a puppet theater is one of the most versatile educational toys, encouraging development in all skill areas. Children can live out their imaginative fantasies through their puppets, while creating interactive dialog and manipulating puppets to express a range of emotions through body language.

Cognitive/thinking skills can be developed through educational toys that promote problem solving, reasoning, remembering, learning, and understanding. Cognitive and thinking skills are arguably one of the most critical in terms of a child’s ability to succeed in school and obtain a high level job in the future. Educational toys that encourage children to pick out patterns and anticipate the unseen are enhance cognitive development.

Pattern Blocks allow children to build pictorial scenes or complex, kaleidoscope-type patters with basic colored shapes. Familiarity with manipulating shapes is the basis of mathematical thinking and help children to understand how things fit together as part of a whole.

Social skills include interpersonal skills, building and maintaining relationships, empathy, and responding to the feelings of others. Many argue that highly developed social skills are the most important in terms of overall success and happiness in life.

Educational toys that give children the opportunity to anticipate the reactions of others and work together to reach an end goal, are excellent social skill developers. Working with children to stock a brightly colored wooden lemonade stand helps them to anticipate the wants and needs of others, engage in meaningful conversation, and directly connect their actions with the reactions of others, all while feeling a great deal of pride and independence.

By rahul