Why your kids need a Spark Box!
The first four years of a baby’s life are such a whirlwind for the parents: Did she eat enough? When was the last time she pooped? Does my 2-year-old really need a Chinese class? Should I be thinking about kindergarten? Already? With all this going on, it’s easy to overlook the fact that your baby’s brain is developing faster than it will at any other time in her life—and that her lifelong capacity for learning will be mostly cemented before she walks in for the first day of Kindergarten.
Babies are constantly touching things and putting their hands and objects in their mouths, so they can pick up germs and illnesses easily. You can reduce your baby’s chance of catching illnesses by keeping your baby’s toys and equipment clean.
We are constantly being asked, how often should you clean baby gear and toys without hurting baby’s health and without driving yourself crazy? Here are some helpful tips:
- When you notice they’re soiled, e.g., after food is spilled on the high chair tray.
We all know what it’s like to spend money on a toy that’s only going to be played with a couple of times before ending up in a closet, never to be seen or heard from again. It’s frustrating and wasteful. So here are some tips to help you pick the best toys for your child and make the most of them:
- Kids love to take apart, put back together, pull out, put in, add on, and build up, so try to choose toys that can be used in a variety of ways. Some good options are wooden blocks, Legos or chunky plastic interlocking blocks.
There are a blessed few out there for whom math is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Unfortunately for most of us, math was a cross we had to bear during our school years. Fortunately for our kids, educational experts have come to understand that many of the difficulties children have with math are rooted in their learning style. Kinesthetic learners have the hardest time grasping mathematical concepts because they need to be able to physically interact with objects in order to learn effectively. The good news is that many schools are now trying to accommodate this group of learners, realizing that it’s not that they are not good at math but rather that they need different learning tools in order to understand certain concepts.
One of the ways this is being addressed is through the use of manipulatives. Manipulatives are physical things that the students can touch and use to represent numbers. For example, if you put two marbles in front of your child and ask him or her to take one away, being able to physically move the object out of the group will reinforce his/her learning style. Continue reading
Welcome to the second installment of our series where we explain the different skills your child unknowingly develops as he or she plays with abandon. As we discussed earlier, there are four major skills categories: physical, cognitive, social and linguistic. Today, it’s time to find out what cognitive development is all about.
- Imagination: imaginative play encourages self-expression and the development of multi-sensory skills. Many early childhood experts actually feel that allowing children to develop their imagination can be more important that concentrating on pre-academic training. While skills such as number, color and shape recognition may give a child some advantage come school time, in the long run it is often the ability to think creatively and adapt to different situations that determine a child’s ability to succeed in life. So, encourage your little one to play make-believe, Continue reading
Many toddlers remain attached to the bottle well past babyhood. Even though for many of them bottles represent a source of security as well as nourishment, it’s important that they be weaned from them around their first birthday and start getting comfortable with drinking from cups.
Since this can be challenging for both parent and child, doctors recommend you start introducing cups around the time your baby is 6 months old. Granted, most of the contents of the cup as well as the cup itself will wind up on the floor, but this helps ease the transition and by the time your baby is 12 months old she should have developed enough coordination and dexterity to hold the cup and drink from it. Sippy cups are also a good idea during this transition process. You can still continue to give your child formula or breast milk, but be sure to offer it (as well as anything else your child drinks) in a cup rather than a bottle.
A good way to start weaning is to gradually reduce the number of bottles your child drinks Continue reading
Unfortunately not all children are created equal when it comes to eating habits. Some kids sit and pick at their vegetables wishing they were Doritos, while others will gobble anything you put in front of them. Regardless of your child’s mealtime preferences, it is your job as a parent to make sure he or she is getting all the nutrients they need, especially during these critical years. Good nutrition is essential not only to the healthy physical development of your child, but to their cognitive development as well.
From ages 0 to 5 kids undergo such a rapid growth and marked development, that the lack of a healthy diet can have a profound impact on their learning abilities and behavior later in life. To begin with, a preschooler’s diet should be similar to that of an adult (but in smaller quantities, obviously) made up of whole grains, various fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Essential fatty acids have been found to play a key role in the Continue reading
So here on our blog and our social media posts, we keep giving you ideas and suggestions on how to help your little one develop the skills they will need to grow into productive, well-adjusted adults. But which exactly are the skills that all this play is supposed to be developing? So glad you asked. There are four major skill categories: physical, cognitive, social and linguistic development. Since they comprise a fair bit of information we will be telling you all about them over four separate installments. First up, physical development:
- Gross Motor Skills:these are the skills that enable functions like rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking, and involve the larger muscles mainly in the arms and legs. Toys and activities that promote these skills are designed to train muscle tone, strength, movement quality and range of movement.
- Fine Motor Skills: fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the eyes, toes, fingers and other areas of the body that enable such functions as writing, grasping small objects, throwing, catching and fastening clothes. Finely tuned motor skills Continue reading
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Children are born with soft skulls–literally and figuratively. Politically incorrect, huh. But face it, children are designed, biologically, to come into the world prepared to absorb all sorts of stimuli and begin to make sense of it as information. They’re not doing this through language.. it’s much more like osmosis. In the early stages, they have no real cognitive filters. Their perception is pure and unstructured.
Slowly, their universe begins to coalesce, and take shape. They begin to recognize and make sense of things. But this is personal. It does not happen according to some universal law of human nature. Their cognitive infrastructure takes shape in relation to the world around them. It is their specific experiences which give it form. And since at this stage, children are not yet able to reflect critically on those experiences, it is important for adults to give some consideration to the tacit effects of those experiences.
Slowly, their universe begins to coalesce, and take shape. They begin to recognize and make sense of things. But this is personal. It does not happen according to some universal law of human nature. Their cognitive infrastructure takes shape in relation to the world around them. It is their specific experiences which give it form. And since at this stage, Continue reading
Tegu is an exceptionally innovative toy company that has designed its business around unleashing creativity and encouraging the imagination of children through unscripted, open-ended play.
Tegu began in 2006 when brothers Chris and Will Haughey discovered tropical hardwoods that could be sustainably harvested in Honduras (the name Tegu is derived from the capital of Honduras – Tegucigalpa). Right then and there they decided to leave their jobs on Wall Street to start a company in Honduras that could create jobs, provide sustainable forestry and better education opportunities. Continue reading