EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Tinker with Thinkers!

Posted on: November 28, 2011

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Children are thinkers.  From infancy, our brains are wired to observe.  We use all 5 of our senses to investigate the world and collect as much information from as many sources as we can! 

Thinking skills include problem solving, sequencing, understanding and processing, anticipating, application of new knowledge to what is already known and the ability to learn more.  Thinking is choosing, organizing, creating, memorizing and using language & communication.

Wow!  Not only is it important to understand that our children are thinkers, it is important to support this critical lifelong skill. There are definite ways we encourage thinking.  Start with play!

Are you thinking about children’s holiday gifts?  Here are some ideas that support thinking skills for infants to school agers….

Puzzles: for older infants and toddlers choose large piece puzzles with knobs and picture boards to match pieces.  As children get older pieces are flat and should interlock.  Puzzles make wonderful family stations.  Keep a jigsaw puzzle “open” for your family to work on individually or as a group.

Blocks & props: soft blocks for babies.  Toddlers and older children enjoy blocks that connect as well as solid shape building blocks.  Block “props” add many layers to block play; buildings, people, animals, trucks & vehicles change play ideas and language.  Also consider peg boards, magnets, scales, gears and tracks.                      

Creative materials: play-doh, paints, craft materials, all sorts of paper, lacing boards, sewing and beads.  
Problem solving games: simple to complex card games, board games requiring turn taking, simple & appropriate computer games for older children, Detective games and lock boxes.

Think about health: outside equipment, obstacle courses, jump ropes, balls, hoops and dance & exercise mats are great.  Don’t forget measuring and cooking materials, cookbooks and kitchen helpers!

Language builders: Books, books and more books – picture books,  board books, favorite authors or types (rhymes, animals, chapter books…), seasonal & holiday focused books and classics are always welcome. Pencils, pens, fancy markers, crayons, chalk, notebooks and props to play school are big hits! 

Music:  instruments and songs.  Consider taking an older child to a play or concert (include lunch!)

Pretend Play:  turn a corner of a child’s world into a place to play house, school, or community helper i.e. firefighter, police officer, builder, artist, mail carrier or pizza maker. Include costumes and props.

Consider safety first when selecting toys for a child.

Keep toys simple, sturdy and easy to store.

Reconsider a toy that requires its own budget.

Always consider a toy that engages children with their favorite thinker of all – YOU!

“Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest.”Benjamin Franklin

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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