One developmental benefit that many parents and experts really look for in a toy is intelligence. Unfortunately, if we are to consider today’s definition of intelligence, there are so many domains including music and arts, expression and creative, and mathematical-spatial, among others. Regardless, there are certain toys that really help stimulate the enhancement of a child’s intellectual faculties. Here’s how to use the right toys to improve your child’s intelligence.
Building and Construction Toys
Long believed to be the pinnacle of intellectual development, the use of building and construction toys and play sets have been implicated in the development of constructive reasoning and divergent problem solving. Divergent thinking is what experts say to be the foundation of logic and critical thinking and which paves the way for more complex scientific problem solving abilities later on in life. Divergent thinkers are not satisfied with a single answer for a certain problem. They operate on the principle of what-if, largely considering a variety of possibilities for any given situation. Building toys provide the opportunities for children to look for as many possible designs or answers to a specific question. For instance, they may have a thousand building blocks but without any blueprint for a design. Divergent problem solvers have to work with immense possibilities to come up with a very unique design. This requires an understanding of cause and effect relationships, hypothesis-making and testing, making predictions, and the trial-and-error method of problem solving. Playing with building toys also develops spatial intelligence.s
The direct opposite of building and construction toys, puzzles, in their strictest sense, do not facilitate the development of divergent thinking. Instead, it is more inclined to develop convergent problem solving whereby a single problem warrants a single solution. This 1:1 relationship between problem and solution is what differentiates a convergent thinker from a divergent solver, who typically operates on a 1:n basis, where “n” is infinite. Nevertheless, puzzles help train the brain and facilitate the intellectual development of young children who may still lack the necessary background information to make inferences as well as educated guesses. Playing with puzzles requires spatial intelligence so kids will be able to determine the relationship of the shape of the edges of the puzzle pieces relative to their slots. This calls for a special kind of intelligence that relies on visual cues and how the brain integrates these pieces of information to form a mental image of how the puzzle piece will fit into the slot. It’s actually a very complicated cognitive process and one that we will truly never understand. Suffice it to say, playing with puzzles help train the brain in looking for a very specific answer to a given question.
You may not agree with it but video games are excellent in developing the intelligence of kids particularly their strategic thinking as well as planning abilities. Take for example Red Alert and other similar games where players have to build their armies and plan to take out enemies or even mount a solid defense against any attacks. It may seem violent to some of us but the fact remains, kids are using their intelligence to succeed. Even Age of Civilizations calls for strategic thinking where the placement of the various parts of the kingdom can have an impact in its defense. Whether you care to admit it or not, certain video games can really help children hone their intellectual abilities.
We can look at kids board games as the traditional version of some computer games. Abstract strategy board games like chess, reverse, and checkers make for the ultimate in intellectual development. Trivia, role playing, negotiation, deduction, and historical simulation games, as well as other types of board games, have been shown to stimulate the use of cognitive faculties including memory, problem solving, analytical thinking, and creative thinking as well as language.
All toys have an inherent developmental benefit to children. Some focus on helping kids with their physical development while some are more concerned on the development of children’s cognitive and language abilities. These types of toys provide you with the assurance that your kid’s intellectual faculties will be developed to their fullest. However, you need to complement this with other activities that will help kids better improve their intelligence.
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