TACKLING THOSE FIRST YEARS WITH DJECO'S FRESHEST PLAY THINGS
Taking a little bit of time to round up all of Djeco’s new toddler toys this season and how they support critical play facets in those early years. If you’ve got a toddler (or two) to teach, stick around because one of this play aids below just might be the answer to your problems.
FIRST PUZZLE PLAY
If you’re in Team Puzzles-are-for-older-kids, you’ll be surprised to learn that puzzle play can begin from as young as 6 months! At that age, babies simply love grasping onto the puzzle pieces and transferring them from one hand to the other – but as we progress on to their first year, you’ll be amazed to see them naturally gravitate towards placing these pieces on spots that ‘fit’. With guided assistance and interaction, try stretching this improved skill to accomplish two-piece puzzles or even layer puzzles that require more logical reasoning, problem solving, and creative thinking.
And don’t be discouraged if your little one doesn’t seem interested in this activity – some toddlers can spend an entire afternoon fixing and re-fixing the same puzzle; while others may find it about as interesting as a brick. This has nothing to do with their intelligence levels but rather, a simple difference in levels of interest. Try sticking to chunky wooden piece that are more tactile and engaging to their senses; start with themes that they have been known to show a liking for; always ensure skill level appropriateness; and when all of that still doesn’t work, keep it away and re-introduce it after a while. Sometimes, it’s really just a matter of timing.
RE-FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Technically, anything that keeps those little fingers busy at this age contributes to fine motor development one way or another – but if you find that your little toddler might need a little boost developing their manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination, you may want to consider turning practice into a fun play activity. We especially love lacing beads because, on top of the fine motor skill benefits it covers, you can also utilize them to teach organizational skills like counting, patterning, sequencing… all of which goes a long way in sharpening their mathematical reasoning in later years too.
FIRST GAMES THAT TEACH
When executed correctly, games can boost cognitive, physical and emotional skills, even when the learning benefits are not immediately apparent. Look beyond traditional academic learning that involves English and Math and keep your eyes peeled instead on content that encourages a more abstract level of thinking, whether it pertains to problem solving, logical reasoning, creative thinking, or even some form of sensory or emotional intelligence. These are skills that are often left out of classroom curriculum and thus, require more efforts establishing in those early years. And besides, how many kids do you know who eventually graduate from school not knowing their ABCs and 123s? None. And how many kids graduate not being good lateral thinkers?
Pick your battles. And play accordingly.
GROWING CURIOSITY THROUGH
Imagination is silly. Imagination is magical. Imagination is important.
Imaginative play is among the most crucial types of play children engage in growing up. It is more than just make-believe — it is how little ones start to make sense of the world. It is blasting off to space in the backyard and three-course dinners served to nobody. All that time spent fighting dragons and building towers that touch the sky provides kids a safe space to explore their environment, problem solve, and communicate with others and their inner narrative.
Imaginative play actually has a very tangible effect on real life, and we believe it’s the secret ingredient to unlocking a better world — one that is more connected and conscientious with equality and sustainability at its core — and for that, it will always remain one of our most cherished facets of play with our little ones.