We all want our children to grow up to be smart and to this end many of us will go to a lot of effort to try and help develop their reasoning skills and their communication. Some parents even go as far as to play Mozart to their children while they're still in the womb due to the rumours that this can help to improve their IQs.
While there is little evidence to support the latter method however, there nevertheless are ways we can help our children to develop the various mental skills they need to succeed without being branded a nut job by our peers and while actually enjoying time with our children. Of course these all involve actually interacting with our children or giving them objects for them to interact with.
Using toys then and games it's very possible to help improve our children's intellectual development, so how do you go about this, and how do you choose the toys that will help your children to grow and learn? Here we will look at how to make the most of playtime to help stimulate your children.
Choosing the Toys
First of all you need to be able to choose your children's toys wisely and pick the ones that will provide the best challenge and the most stimulation for them. Note that of course any toy will help your child to learn simply from their handling them and interacting with them, but specific toys and games can help to develop particular skills. For instance if you want to nurture your child's imagination and their spatial reasoning then Lego blocks can make a great gift once they're old enough. This way they will be able to have a go at basic engineering and can learn a lot of basic physics. On the other hand a drawing or colouring pad can also be good for creativity, while on the other hand puzzles and pegs are great for getting them to develop their reasoning skills and their memory.
What's more important than just choosing the toys themselves though is helping our children to play with them. If you can interact with your children using the toys for instance, then right away you will get more from them because you will be able to ask them questions and 'test' them. Games like pairs (also called memory) are of course great for improving memory, while you can also play simple board games with them.
Getting your children to play with friends and other children though can also be very effective at improving a range of cognitive skills. This is because they will not only be forced to communicate, but will also be able to share ideas and to learn from one another. Studies have shown that IQ improves at a more rapid rate when children engage in group play compared to playing alone - so look into getting toys that they can use with one another and with you and then encourage them to be social.