Technology is absolutely everywhere – from work to play to home-life. The presence of technology in products for children of all ages is growing all the time. Many of today’s innovative toys also have the benefit of accelerating the learning process.
While it is recommended to choose toys that are age appropriate, this will change from child to child. So observing a child’s behavior with toys should show what they are ready for. But, like one of the innovative founding fathers of the personal computer, Steve Jobs has said “…People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”For kids, play and learning go hand in hand, so it would make sense that there continues to be an influx of toy types such as the ones discussed below.
1. Early Learning: Parents want their children to begin learning at the earliest stage possible. Research studies have demonstrated that watching stimulating content such as that on specially developed DVDs and listening to music aids greatly in a baby’s brain development. For example, there have been several series of DVDs designed to teach early reading skills to infants. DVDs and CDs are readily available in the marketplace and offer a variety of options to choose from.
2. Bouncers: Keeping a baby content and invigorated is one of the easiest things to do with an ergonomically designed baby bouncer. There are stationary products that can triple as a baby seat and carrier and more high-tech versions that encourage babies to use their own movements. While supporting them for optimum comfort, all of these products, such as bouncers by InGenuity, Comfort and Harmony’s Cradling Bouncer, are helpful in teaching babies how to balance their own weight.
3. Touchscreen Tablets: Preschoolers of all ages learn to play games with technological toys designed to sit in backpacks like a tablet. There are free apps to download that teach how to use fingers through tapping and interactive games. They all include colorful and attractive displays that encourage participation.
4. Online Games: The renowned and iconic Sesame Street show is now available featuring its charming educational content through family games found online. Smaller children can learn to interact along with parents to enjoy favorite characters, while learning basic letter, number and reading skills.
5. Digital Readers: New picture books have been developed for kids to explore and play with. Most of them include bright, colorful picture displays, some that move, and many come with sound. Parents can show even young babies how to follow along and in no time, they’ll be reading themselves.
6. Animated Accessories: There are plush toys designed for iTouches, iPhones and other devices to fit inside. Screens then become the face of the toy, such as a bear or a dog. The animal face is animated by the app and it plays familiar songs, encouraging kids to listen to stories, play peek-a-boo and sing along.
It is never too early to introduce a child to technology. In fact, the earlier the better. Like it or not, technology is here to stay – and the sooner a child learns how to adjust to it, embrace and learn from it, the better.