Some of the best educational tools that parents and teachers have at their disposal are games. Children learn through different types of play. To maximize your child’s learning potential, Happy Hands suggests integrating different types of toys and games into his or her curriculum. Read on to find out how!
Memory Games and Puzzles for Brain Growth
As your child’s brain develops, memory games can help them to hone their memory and to learn concentration. While you can find some memory games on the internet, you can also create games of your own.
One game involves a handful of coins, a timer and a cloth. What you do in this game is you choose five coins and put them in a sequence. Then, the players look at the coins before you cover them with the cloth. The children then have to arrange new coins in the same order. The player who does this the fastest wins.
Puzzles also affect your child’s development. At different ages, different types of puzzles can help your child increase his or her cognitive skills. Be careful not to give children puzzles above their skill level. If a child struggles too much with a puzzle, it can hurt his or her development.
Fidget Toys for Focus in the Classroom
Performance Health explains that the use of fidget tools can help students improve their focus, particularly children with ADHD. As an adult, you may tap your fingers, twirl your hair or fiddle with your pen during meetings. Kids are no different. Since some forms of fidgeting can be a distraction, fidget toys can improve education without becoming a distraction. Fidget tools, such as fidget spinners or stress balls, can also be soothing for those who have sensory needs.
Social-Emotional Development Through Games
Social-emotional learning is a part of children's early development. Kids learn to set goals, interact with others and to cope with their feelings. Most social-emotional games use little to no technology and are easy to fit into your routine.
Some games focus on self-awareness. "Starfish and Tornadoes" calls for you to draw a thermometer with a starfish at the bottom and a tornado on top. Ask your child about his or her energy levels. Does he or she feel like a calm starfish or an energetic tornado? If your child has too much energy, the two of you can figure out ways to become calmer.
Never use games to highlight a child’s negative behavior. Focusing on a child’s negative behavior is less likely to help him or her learn social-emotional skills. Instead, praise good behavior.
Video Games as Developmental Tools
According to researchers, there is little evidence that video games are harmful to children. Children who play video games and enjoy outdoor play are well-adjusted and more likely to be socially engaged with their peers, per Psychology Today. Video games may improve a child’s mental development and visuospatial ability. For children to learn new sensorimotor skills, they require repetitive patterns and movement. Video games provide these criteria to increase hand-eye coordination.
There are ample great choices available online, and you can look around for what specifically meets your needs. For instance, FunBrain allows you to search by grade, and PBS Kids offers topic-oriented categories. To use video games as a part of your curriculum, your internet has to be able to handle it. The connection should be robust enough to offer minimal lag and buffering, which means going with fiber optic. In the fiber optic and cable internet debate, fiber optic connections are more advanced. The fiber-optic cables use flexible strands of glass that send data via light. If you want consistency, you may want to switch to a fiber optic connection.
With video games as a tool, you can still limit screen time if you feel like your children are not spending enough time in active play. There are apps available for you to set up parental controls and screen time limits.
Games and toys can be an excellent addition to any homeschool curriculum or after-school routine. Not only can these tools create a fun learning environment, but they can improve a child’s cognitive development, fine motor skills and more. Look to Happy Hands for more information on learning toys and games that not only entertain, they will help your child’s development!