Studies have shown that the earliest years are the most critical for childhood development. While there is no clear rule, development begins to slow down after around age six; by age eight a child’s brain reaches 90% of its adult weight. Although there are a variety of schools and programs guaranteeing early childhood education options, there are a number of resources parents can use to provide a stimulating environment for their children to learn in.
As adults, we sometimes forget how amazing the world that we live in is: we have five senses that we take for granted. Infants on the other hand are just now experiencing that world through their senses. For this reason, providing a stimulating environment full of colors, shapes, textures, smells, sounds, and flavors has been shown to help children learn up to 25% more than their peers. Music is especially beneficial to infants and toddlers, although different studies show the benefits of different genres.
Organization and structure are inventions of the adult world. Parents often get frustrated when small children refuse to cooperate with craft time or some other heavily-structured activity. Experts in the field recommend spontaneous free play in long interrupted periods to encourage learning and well-being in young children. This emphasizes what the child wants to do and makes it easier for them to find interest when it is time for them to focus on an activity.
Anyone who has ever really watched a small child notices that they love to learn. Puzzles can be frustrating to figure out initially, but over time there is no greater satisfaction than that of a child who has solved a puzzle. Educational toys like construction sets, magnet sets, and building blocks are ideal for small children as these allow creativity while engaging the child in basic problem-solving; these are ideal for children between the ages of three and six who are learning how to count from one to 25, and how to sort objects by shape, color, and height. Unfortunately, many children have experienced the heartache of having their building block tower fall to the ground: magnetic building blocks provide a modern solution. Unlike their predecessors, magnetic building blocks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to allow children’s imaginations to run wild. Remember that today’s toddlers are tomorrow’s architects.