Research in the fields of neurology and psychology are helping us understand learning in a new way. The surprising facts that emerge about how children learn point to the idea that toys can help children in school environments. Gone are the days when play and learning were rigidly separated. The new, research-based learning environment incorporates playtime in exciting ways.
Surprising Facts About Toys and Learning
If you come from a model of thought where a school was meant for lecture-style learning, the new paradigm might surprise you. Traditional methods like learning parrot fashion or having access to practice test papers have always been effective, but there are some other facts to consider which might shift your perspective on how to approach learning. How can toys and games possibly help with education? Shouldn’t kids be studying numbers and letters -- not drumming or coloring?
Children Think Like Scientists
Alison Gopnik, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, conducted research which showed that kids think as scientists do, before ever taking a class in the scientific method. She reports that a child can naturally (as young as eight months old) form a hypothesis, test it, collect data, and predict future outcomes.
When an academic setting gives a child resources for play, like toys, that child engages in a pattern of behavior that helps him solve problems. For example, he may hypothesize that a boat with a weight on it will float when he places it into a bucket of water. If the ship sinks, he might test out other scenarios and conclude from the data he collected.
Research Shows A Correlation Between Music And Math
Many toys incorporate musical elements. You might be surprised to learn that the tones, melodies, and beats emanating from those toys might be doing more than simply entertaining a child. Researchers have found that children with music aptitude and an understanding of rhythm scored higher on math assessments.
Drumming And Cognitive Functioning
The act of drumming has been shown to change the way that the brain functions. Tapping out rhythms on a toy drum could help a child with cognitive and physical functioning, as well as retention, coordination, sensory integration, and the development of fine motor skills.
Did you know that toys, games, and play could have such an impact on childhood learning? Many of us are under the misconception that toys don’t belong in the classroom. However, children develop their problems solving skills when they have the freedom to use scientific reasoning through play. Toys can enhance math skills, and help a child’s brain develop.
by Jackie Edwards