Imagination and exploration through interaction with characters.
Children’s imagination is active from an early age. Imaginative play has links to what psychologists call ‘social pretend play’. Young children pretend or imagine that, for instance a wooden block is a cake and they carefully ‘cut’ it. A large proportion of pretend play tends to be social. Imaginative play begins when infants play and pretend with adults. As young children develop they begin to try to engage other children in social pretend play. Young children in nursery benefit from engaging in imaginative play. It helps them to begin to understand that other children think differently to them and have different ideas. Children can engage in imaginative play with other children where they have agreed on a story or scenario that they want to act out. Young children playing with toys use their imagination to invent scenarios and play out the consequences. They can use characters to explore scenarios and act out scripts such as going shopping or bedtime. Imaginative and social pretend play is beneficial for children as it allows them to explore different ways of viewing the world. Children who use their imagination when playing with other children are increasing their social competence and their understanding of other people. In a study where we observed children playing in a nursery we found that young children engaged in imaginative play, often using the toys in unexpected ways. Children’s imagination benefits from the opportunity to play with all types of toys.
Introduces the alphabet, letter sounds and vocabulary.
Babies start to babble at an early age and this can be seen as the first signs of language. They are predisposed to pick up the sounds of the language that they hear around them. Adults can facilitate babies’ language development by playing with them, focussing on particular toys, reading books and naming everyday objects. The more babies are exposed to language the faster they will begin to pick up it up. There are social skills involved in language acquisition such as realising that it is necessary to wait until the other person has finished speaking. Babies begin to learn about conversational turn-taking from an early age; if a baby is babbling the adult waits for a pause and then talks to the baby. Babies learn to take turns even before they are using words. Social interaction is important for language development and turn-taking games are a fun and educational way for babies and young children to learn. Young children also need to practice their language skills. Toys that name alphabet letters and everyday words satisfy young children’s need for repetition and rehearsal when practicing words and sounds. For instance, young children can press a button repetitively to hear the same sound or word again. Babies and children learn a lot through repetition and pick up words rapidly in this way. Once children begin to read their vocabulary expands enormously.
Encourages fine motor skill development.
An infant’s growth and development in the first year of life is rapid. Many movements that young babies make are in preparation for the next stage of their development. When young babies watch a mobile they are constantly moving their head, arms, legs and even their mouths in response to the movement of the toy. Sound and movement attract a baby’s attention; if a toy is placed almost within reach of babies their movements become more animated. Bath toys provide opportunities to develop and use motor skills to great effect. For example, a young baby has greater control over their leg movements than their arms. You will often see young babies in a bath reaching with their legs towards a floating toy and kicking. All these movements strengthen muscles in readiness for the next stage - walking. As babies develop they become more adept at grasping objects. Young infants learn to grasp an object, for instance a cube. The grasping, at first, is quite clumsy but through repetition, and across time, infants become adept at grasping and develop fine motor skills. Infants first use the ulnar grasp where their fingers close against the palm when trying to hold an object. Within another month they are able to move the object from hand to hand. After the first year, infants adopt the ‘pincer grasp’ where they use their thumb and index finger to grasp even very tiny objects. Shape sorters help infants to fine tune their visual perception and hand coordination. Soon infants are building towers with two cubes; this also requires fine coordination skills. As the child grows computer games have been shown to help with hand and eye coordination. Spatial skills can also be enhanced when playing games that require concentration, quick responses and finely tuned motor skills.
A variety of textures, visuals and sounds stimulate sensory development.
Sensory development is intimately related to motor development. Babies are born into a world that stimulates their senses and to which they react. These reactions are bodily movements which create learning experiences. Sensory development in babies can be facilitated through toys that provide opportunities for them to experience sounds, visuals and textures. Young infants need to be presented with an adequate but not too great amount of sensory stimulation. From an early age babies use touch to investigate their world; as they learn to reach they begin to run their tongue and lips over toys and then look at them. Tactile stimulation is also combined with other sensory information. Babies can perceive input from different sensory systems in a unified way; for instance, vision and touch are closely coordinated when using a shape sorter. Babies who handle shapes and also fit them through a hole are learning to solve problems through touch and sight. Infants also learn about the links between sights, sounds and feel of toys when these are demonstrated by adults. They begin to associate the sight and sound of a rhythmically shaken rattle or the nursery rhyme played by a particular toy. During the first year of life infants’ visual development is rapid and they begin to identify objects through shape, colour and texture. They also develop the ability to visually track objects. Toys give babies and young children many opportunities to enhance their sensory development.
Features 10 SmartPoints that introduce fun phrases, sound effects and melodies when triggered.
Includes 32 varied track pieces that can be combined in different ways.
Station building introduces colours, early language skills and basic time concepts.
Encourages role-play fun and imaginative play.
Best for ages:
1 to 5 Years
Features cute motorised train, 10 SmartPoints for fun interaction, station, gates, incline, ramp and storage tower. Introduces colours, basic languages and more!
It’s playtime with miles of learning! The Toot-Toot Drivers® Train Station from VTech lets your child play like a real conductor! Spark your child’s imagination as they combine the 32 track pieces into different combinations. Watch the cute motorised train and its cargo car chug along the tracks and go into the station, under the bridge and through the tunnel! The train and other Toot-Toot Drivers® vehicles respond to the 10 SmartPoint™ locations that introduce early language skills. Station building introduces colours, early language skills and basic time concepts. Also includes 3 fun accessories and hand-crank conveyer belt. All Aboard! (SmartPoint vehicles only. each sold separately)