Monday, June 21, 2010

How Healthy is Your Child's Play Diet?

Children need a healthy play diet just like they would need a healthy food diet. Just like you wouldn't give your child apples and bananas for every meal, you can't give your child just books or just puzzles to play with. There are 8 areas that every child needs for a well rounded "Play Diet". They are:
  • Books/Music/Reading
  • Puzzles & Patterns
  • Construction
  • Games
  • Creative Expression
  • Sensory/Exploration
  • Active Play/Gross Motor
  • Fine Motor
I want to teach you why these areas are important and some products that would be good in each. I will be posting about 1 area each Monday for the next few weeks. Let's start off today looking at Books/Music/Reading.

A child can never have enough books and music in their life. From a love of language and experiences with letters and words to the bonding that comes from enjoying them together, it's THE most important think you can give your child. Reading and music is also a great way to travel to a different world without leaving your home. It's great bonding time to snuggle on the couch looking through books together with your child and you can never start too early.

Give your child a wide range of types of books to read and music to listen to.  For babies, you can start out by playing music and reading to them before they are even born. Classical is great for little ones to listen to.  Animal Baby and Busy Baby are great first books. They are cloth, which makes them easy to hold and it won't hurt them (or the baby) if they are chewed on. They have wonderful pictures to look at and a simple wording to go with each picture.  Sounds Like Learning is a CD children can listen to for years and enjoy. It's soothing, so makes it nice to listen to during nap time and they are learning at the same time.

For toddlers, a fun book to read is The Potty Train.  It's a cute story that they will enjoy and will also get them thinking about going potty! Toddlers also love to get up and move, so our Baby Grooves instrument set, which includes cage bell, baby maraca, cymbal shaker and bead roller, will get them doing that and making music all at the same time. There is even a CD for them to play along with. Music is good for children to listen to and make because it helps them create rhythms and patterns which will then go on reading and math success. Fingerplays and Fun is another CD that will get you and your child up and dancing with fun songs likes Itsy Bitsy Spider, Little Ducky Duddle and I'm Driving In My Car.

Our Beyond The Book Collections are perfect for preschools. We offer 2 sets which include a book, CD, card game and plush toy. The first set is Gustav The Musical Mole which teaches all the different musical instruments and the second is The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear which teaches about sharing. We also have Jam Sessions, another musical instrument set perfect for older children which includes a hand drum & mallet, tambourine, guiro & mallet, and 2 castanets.

A couple books your school ages children will enjoy is Puzzle Island and How To Build Your Own Country. Puzzle Island will get them reading a fun story while figuring out a big puzzle that will take them through the entire book. How To Build Your Own Country give your child the freedom to be creative and express themselves in a fun way by guiding them though everything they need to run a country, from designing a flag and coming up with a motto to making a passport and setting laws.

As you can see, Books/Music/Reading is an important part of your child's play diet and is vital to their success in school and beyond. Introduce them to books and music early and they will have a lifetime of learning fun.

If you have any questions or would like other suggestions on how to get your child on a healthy play diet, please don't hesitate to email me. I'm happy to help you any way I can.

posted by:
Cara Retz
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys

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