WATCH: Forget flashcards, give them sticks!

By Hannah Schenker

Preaching to the converted here, but infants do not need a lot of complex toys in order to learn and play. While it is important to buy quality goods for our kids, and to use our spending power to choose natural, organic and sustainable as much as we can, what is most important for your baby is adult attention and support, as they begin to recognise and decipher the patterns of the world around them.

Language alone can increase your baby’s learning capacity as it is one of the most complex skills we learn, and is involved in all other complex skills we pick up later. Studies are showing that children raised in wealthy households hear tens of millions of words in their first 4-5 years. Comparatively, children growing up in poverty hear far less, the impact of which carries on into their adult lives.

As for being better off with some sticks? Or rolling a ball? This is because imaginative play results in far more cognitive processes and therefore complex brain development. Many bright, colourful and complex toys simply already make a lot of the decisions for you.

Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand. 

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