Fun and interesting sound effects draw baby’s attention to play.
Even very early in life babies can hear a wide variety of sounds. Infants will turn towards the sound of a toy and begin to reach towards it. This ability to recognise the direction that a sound is coming from improves greatly during the first few years of life. Young infants listen longer to the sound of human voice and seem to prefer it to any other sound. They are especially aware of the sound of language and like to be spoken to slowly and with a high pitch. This is sometimes referred to as ‘infant directed speech’ or even ‘baby talk’. Young babies are quite sensitive in their auditory abilities and can perceive all the categorical sound distinctions in world languages. As babies develop their auditory abilities narrow so that eventually babies are only sensitive to those sound categories specific to their native language. As soon as babies are born they are influenced by what they hear around them and modify what they able to hear, accordingly. At the same time they become increasingly sensitive to music and musical patterns. Even in their first year babies are distinguishing between musical tunes on the basis of rhythmic patterns and later they begin to recognise the same melody played in a different key. Giving babies plenty of opportunities to hear music, singing, rhythm and talk enhances their learning and prepares them for the social world where they will talk, sing, play and listen to music.
Develops counting and number identification.
Even young babies can discriminate between a small set of objects and a large set of objects. Young children learn to match their culture’s number words and symbols (e.g. 1, 2, and 3) to specific quantities. Research has shown that maths skills can improve with practice; young children who are given plenty of opportunity to work and play with numbers and counting will improve their basic maths skills. Counting rhymes are very popular with babies and young children and teach them basic maths concepts in a fun way. A young child may make mistakes when learning to count (e.g. missing out the number 6 when counting 10 bricks). But this young child is still demonstrating the basic maths ability; linking number words to actual numbers, realising that each item can only have one number word, and that the numbers have a sequence. Number games, learning about sequences and singing counting rhymes all help to enhance children’s basic maths skills. Repetition is also important, for instance, singing counting rhymes over and over again gets babies used to number words and their sequence. Toys that count as babies, for instance, place bricks in a slot and computer games that present children with fun maths problems are also useful learning tools. Play and practice with numbers is fun for babies and is essential for the development of young children’s understanding of quantity.
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.
Exploration of various environments & associated vocabulary.
Children are sometimes referred to as intuitive physicists, biologists and even psychologists. This means that children may naturally understand something about how the world around them works. Infants are beginning to understand about physical objects and their effects upon one another. They also learn a great deal about the world around them by repeating actions that have an effect. For instance, infants demonstrate their understanding of ‘object permanence’ when they pull away a blanket to reveal a toy that has previously been hidden from view. Young children continue to build knowledge of their world by acting on the environment around them. As children’s skills mature and develop they can learn about science related words and expand their vocabulary. Young children demonstrate their biological knowledge when they make the distinction between animate beings such as animals and inanimate objects. Children use inanimate objects such as toy animals or pictures of animals to learn more about an animal’s diet, behaviour and habitat. From an early age children can understand the difference between a living thing such as a cat and a model or toy cat. Toys can engage children in thinking about scientific inventions, details of the animal kingdom, environmental information and facts whilst also expanding their science vocabulary. Scientific knowledge can then be reinforced through fun games and quizzes.
As babies develop they begin to use mental pictures of objects that are no longer within their field of vision. These memory skills can be enhanced through presenting visual stimuli more than once; repetition is essential for the development of memory skills. Young infants’ memories are influenced by context; for instance, they can imitate an adult’s actions with a toy but only if the toy is identical in colour and features to the one that the adult played with. Older infants can remember, for instance, how to press a toy animal to make a sound even if the toy is slightly different to the one which the adult used to demonstrate. Infants’ memories become less context dependent at the same time that infants start to crawl and walk. Giving babies plenty of opportunity to explore their world allows them to enhance their memory skills. As children’s attention span increases so do their memory strategies. This means that children can use deliberate mental activities, such as visualisation, to increase the chances of retaining information in working memory and then shifting it to their long-term knowledge base. Lots of rehearsal and organisation is needed to use memory to its full advantage; repetition is an important part of both infant and childhood learning. Children can both learn and practice memory strategies using toys and games. Toys that encourage children to remember visual stimuli, answer questions and then repeat the activity over again enhance learning.
8 Letter & Word activites teach children to spell their name and explore letters and words.
8 Number & Shape activities teach children how to count their age and explore shapes and numbers.
4 Logic activities strengthen problem-solving skills through puzzle and logic games.
5 Animal & Food activities identify animal sounds and footprints and categorise foods into fruits and vegetables.
4 Music activities explore musical instrument sounds and enjoy popular melodies played in Rock, Jazz, Reggae & Country styles with a total of 40 tunes.
Best for ages:
3 to 6 Years
Kids can get in the zone as they prepare for school with the VTech My Zone Laptop.
The My Zone Laptop offers 30 interactive activities with progressive learning levels that teach a variety of subjects that gradually increase in difficulty. Children can also customise it with their name, age, avatar, favourite tunes and more! Packed with learning fun, this laptop will have little learners exploring phonics, letters, spelling, counting, shapes, musical instruments and melodies plus animals, fruits and vegetables. It will also help strengthen problem solving skills through puzzles and logic games. All combined in one portable package, kids will soon be in the learning zone!