Toys to LOVE (and an excuse to go to Target)

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When my son was born late 2014, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy him too many toys.  Well, I that resolve went to the wind as soon as I realized that it was fun buying stuff for my little boy.  Then I told myself I was going to buy my son educational toys…most of the time.

One day I was in target and I spied a set of soft plastic infant building blocks.  Earlier at work I had reviewing the Denver Developmental Test II, which uses building blocks as a measure of cognitive development.  The Wacs Assessment of Cognitive Structures also uses building blocks to asses cognitive development.   You could say that I had blocks on the mind.  That and the combination of never leaving Target without buying something resulted in my son getting a set of baby friendly blocks.  Blocks are a great way to encourage spatial exploration, spatial reasoning, imaginative play, and fine motor skills.  And its is so much fun to shout “BOOM” and knock the tower down!  Oh, there we have some cause and effect thrown in!

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The next toy came before the blocks actually.  When babies are born, their maculae (the area of the retina used for detailed viewing, the “WHAT” information) are not fully developed yet.  On the other hand, the peripheral retina, which contains light receptors called rods, is fully functional.  The rod light receptors pick up information about where you are, note changes in contrast and make up the sixth sense that folks often talk about.  The peripheral retina is where the survival skills or jungle skills come from, as my college roommate used to say.  She has a very well developed periphery.  So, when my son was born, I very quickly noticed he tracked large, high contrast objects and my face.  Again, I found myself in Target (no, I don’t spend all my spare time in Target!) and ended up with this.  This silly little monkey with bright colors and bold patterns entertained my son for ever.  The bright patches of color and patterns provide points of visual interest and different textures provide tactile stimulation.

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The blocks are great also because they are soft and make decent chew toys.  These were just two of the toys my son enjoyed when he was younger!  The early years are so critical for visual development and I feel that providing toys and situations to enhance visual growth and learning is important and fun for little ones!  Everything in the world is new to them–little kids are sponges, literally learning all the time!  Stay tuned for more toys to love!

-Dr. Davis

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