At Little Wooden Toybox we highly value and encourage children to learn through play. So many skills are learnt and developed through structured and unstructured play with wooden toys.
Structured play involves uiding your child to complete tasks with an educational goal in mind. On the other hand, unstructured play gives your child opportunities to discover, learn and experience at their own pace and in their own way. Both types of play are
important. Never underestimate what your children are learning during ‘free’ or
Note: Be careful to stop and change activities as soon as the child is showing signs of no longer enjoying structured play time. Play needs to be fun and children need to learn that
learning is fun too!
Here are just some of the educational qualities of the Xylophone, Rolling Car and Twist Disk.
Fine Motor Skills: the use of small muscle groups to perform a precise task.
Hand Eye Coordination: where the hand and eye need to work together to perform a task accurately.
Problem Solving: to solve problems through a variety of means including trial & error and practice.
Logical Thinking: to think in a structured way to achieve a certain goal (opposite to creative/ imaginative thinking).
Cause & Affect: watching what happens when something is manipulated and that in turn affects something else.
Please note that there are my own definitions and are by no means complete definitions of all that each skill encompasses. Meanings have been giving in simple terms and in a way that it can be applied to LWT wooden toys.
The bright colours and wooden musical tones speak for themselves but there are a few other educational qualities that may not have been thought of when considering this toy.
Fine Motor Skills and Hand Eye Co-ordination: Hitting the keys accurately with the beaters will help develop fine motor skills and hand eye coordination in children, especially with a beater in each hand hitting different keys simultaneously.
Problem Solving: Try playing a beat or a tune (depending on how old your child is) with one beater, and see if your child can copy the pattern or tune with the other beater. Problem solving by trial and error is simply trying, and trying again until you get it right.
How can watching cars roll down a track be educational and beneficial to my child? Many children (and adults) will find the visual stimulation and the repetitive noise calming and
often addictive. This toy is a great ‘reward’ toy after completing a difficult task, but it also has these additonal educational qualities:
Fine Motor Skills and Hand Eye Co-ordination: Placing the cars carefully at the top of the track and in the correct position requires fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The reward to doing this
correctly is immediate making this is a great toy for developing these skills in children who want everything done now!
Crossing the Midline: Many children have trouble crossing the midline which simply means that they have trouble with one side of their body crossing to the other side. My boy used to write the left half of his name with his left hand, and the right half of his name with the right hand. He didn’t like to cross over. This toy helped him learn to do this by placing the cars on the right side of the desk, and the track on the left side. He had to pick up the cars with his right hand (without swapping hands) and put them at the top of the tower on the left. After a few times we switched sides.
Cause & Affect: Have you ever wondered why children start dropping their food off the side of the high chair at about 8 months old? It’s their first science lesson learning cause & affect. If they drop their food, it will splat on the floor. Their actions and have caused something new to happen. The same thing works for this toy; by placing the cars at the top of the track and letting them go, something happens that they have caused!
Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are the two obvious educational benefits of the Twist Disk but it also is great for learning colours, shapes and matching as well as the following:
Problem Solving: Trial and error is an important problem solving skill to learn for any child and this toy is a fun way to learn it. Each disk needs to be put on its matching pole but it won’t fit onto the other two poles. Children will learn which pole it fits onto by learning which ones it doesn’t fit onto first.
Logical Thinking: Children will need to think carefully and logically when using this toy in order to get the disks on correctly. Once the disk is on the correct pole and over the first set of prongs (watch video), the disks needs to be turned again in order for them to fit onto the second set of prongs.
I hope this helps to explain that wooden toys aren’t just wooden toys. Each toy in the Little Wooden Toybox range is carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including colour, durability, price, safety and enjoyment value. But more importantly the toys are chosen based on the educational qualities that each toy possesses, both for neuro typical children and for children with special needs.