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It is a well-known fact that educational toys benefit children and stimulate cognitive development, which is essential in the process of establishing the foundational skills of learning.

It can, however, be daunting for parents to choose from the vast selection of toys available.

Karmi Alberts, educational practitioner at Edublox Kathu, says that some of the ques­tions that parents may have, is whether expensive toys are better than cheaper options; what types of toys should be considered; and whether educational screen time is as good as utilising physical toys.

“A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple – something like the classic jigsaw puzzle, although inexpensive, is extremely beneficial to a child’s development,” says Alberts.

“Not only do they promote hand-eye coordination, but they also assist in the development of fine motor skills and shape recognition.

“Different types of puzzles, like word searches, visual puzzles, and 3D visual math puzzles all provide excellent cognitive stimulation.”

Alberts says although edu­cational television shows seem like a helpful aid in keeping the kids busy (especially over the holidays), parents must be especially cautious to limit exposure for children under the age of three.

“Studies have linked excessive screen time in babies to attention problems later in life. Luckily there is a variety of online aids and tools to help with reading, specifically, and this can be a tremendous help, especially as an alternative to violent computer games that older children prefer.”

According to Educational Playcare, a blog about edu­cational toys for children, the use of educational toys can help children develop many different skills, such as:

, problem solving and understanding cause and effect;

, playing with others through compromise, conflict resolution and sharing;

, fine and gross motor skills;

, creativity and imagination; and

, discovering independence and positive self-esteem.

Children can start benefiting from educational toys as early as at one month old.

Programme far-reaching

Edublox is a leading specialist reading, maths and learning clinic with 34 branches across the country.

Karmi Alberts and Marizanne Fourie, educational practitioners, opened the Edublox Kathu clinic in 2017 – the first in the region.

The Edublox multisensory brain-training programmes enable learners to overcome learning obstacles in reading, spelling and mathematics, assisting them to become lifelong learners and empowering them to realise their highest educational goals.

An online programme, Edublox Online Tutor, has just launched and children can enjoy the offered benefits of this offering from the comfort of their home.

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