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Toys provides our children with loads of fun and helps develop their imaginations. It is an outlet that frees their mind. But there is more than just mere play things. Toys deliver a few more surprises than one would expect.

When children play with toys, early in life, they discover how the world works. Six month-old children and younger learn that things fall downwards, others bounce upwards, and some make noise when they do something to them, among other things. In the following two years, their cognitive thinking skills begin to ameliorate, allowing for association play or, rather,  pretend play. During this time, they are developing and learning social behaviors — both, good and bad ones. According to Etienne Benson, contributor for the Association for Psychological Science, when a boy learns not to play with toys that are for girls only or that violent play is “off limits”, he learns something about the society he lives in.

In contrast, some experts suggest that our behavior is hardwired in our genes. There is a study that monitored young monkeys playing with children toys. Researcher found  that the female monkeys were partial to playing with dolls and the males, trucks. They attribute this behavior preference to hormonal differences between boys and girls.

This has caught the attention of toy-makers, who  have employed toy marketers and designers to consider this when designing toys. At MIT, there is  a Toy Product Design course that focuses on developing toys that benefits children.The course will incorporate lectures regarding development psychology. Benson writes, “Developmental psychology is also part of the curricula at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where the United States’ first toy-design degree program was founded in the late 1980s.”

Parents, Too

Children are like empty sponges that are ready to soak up information around them. They learn from watching television or listening to music, but are most susceptible to learning from others. Observational  learning involves observing and mimicking the behavior of others, mostly  people around them. These people usually consist of parents, family members, guardians, and friends of the family.

As a major influence in a child’s life, take the initiative to guide their play behavior to agree with social norms. You can really make a difference in your child’s development. Kids need rules and structure. Children strengthen their understanding of rules through role play. Kids will play house or play school pretending to be some form of authority and dish out commands and instructions. This role playing reinforces the rules that they have learned and grants them a better understanding of their position in the world.

So get out there and play with them as much as you can. Share you knowledge and your imagination. Explore the world, together.

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We all know parenting is a full-time job that requires long hours and barely no vacation time. Break time usually comes when children are in school, asleep, or out of the house.

So what about when dad needs to talk to the doctor or mom needs take an important phone call?

There are a lot methods you could employ to net yourself the free time needed. We have compiled a list of kid-friendly options here:

Android Devices

Smartphones are here to stay. They are more prevalent then ever before. With the advent of tablets, there will be a mobile device readily accessible almost all of the time. So why know have a few (or lot) kid-friendly apps for your young ones?

Android marketplace, Google Play, is full of tons of games, books, and more. The next time your sitting at the doctor’s office use these suggestions to keep your tiny tot occupied.

Kid Mode: Free Games + Lock

Provided by desirehdapps.comThis is a wonderful, and we mean wonderful, app to have on your device. First, and foremost, Kid Mode allows multiple user accounts. So little Johnny and Jane can have two separate accounts tailored to their liking. Accounts are distinguished by a photo of your kid, in which they can access by pressing the photo. Inside they will find coloring and drawing games and short videos, as well. The best feature is that it locks your phone so your child cannot accidentally call out or fiddle with your emails.

Cut The Rope

Via wikipedia.orgThis is a cute game that will captivate your little ones ( and bigger ones, too) for hours. The object of the game is to feed a little cute creature with a piece of candy by cutting the rope it hangs from. The first few levels are simple enough to learn “the ropes”, so to speak. As you progress, the levels become significantly challenging, as they incorporate creative uses for bubbles, air-puffing devices, and more. The design is elegant and the graphics is beautiful. The music is clean, catchy, and encouraging. There is a  free version, that is entertaining by itself, and a paid version that includes more levels.

Google Books

Via joestieger.comIf you’re already using an Android device then you are probably familiar with Google Books. This cool feature that Google provides is similar to Amazon does with Kindle, although on a basic level. The are a lot of good options in their book store. For instance, they have classics from the likes of Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll for free ( as do Kindle). Kids can read their favorite titles from anywhere (especially the doctor’s office). Just remember to bring along your charger in some cases. A few mobile devices have been reported to have not-so-good battery life.

What we like the most about the options above is that they all incorporate a certain level of learning  to ameliorate, or improve, the implementation of problem-solving skills. The more time spent developing these skills the better a young mind will be at using these skills.

And you get some free time in return, a win-win situation.

Stay tuned for more suggestions.

Have any suggestions or comments on how to grab a few moments of alone time, please share share with us.


Kids playing with mom

Mom and children playing together. Bonding between parent and child increases children mental wellness.

We all know that children love to play games, watch cartoons, and run around having fun. But did you know that kids enjoy it more when they have someone else to play with? Of course you did. Children like playing with other children, most of the time, which initiates their social skills. When children play with their parents they learn and develop socially acceptable behavior. In addition, both express the love and care they have for one another, which is vital for children such as infants who are use to being surrounded by mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Being this intimate allows the baby to know their mother’s voice, which is likely the most consistent thing they hear.

Parents and children share an affinity that is innate and intangible. Through visual and verbal cues parents instill and reinforce what is morally, and sociably, right into their child’s mind. This bonding and nurturing conduces to mental wellness and stability. In an article written by Nemours, titled “Bonding with Your Baby”, they state that “bonding is essential.” They go on to say:

 Studies of newborn monkeys who were given mannequin mothers at birth showed that, even when the mannequins were made of soft material and provided formula to the baby monkeys, the babies were better socialized when they had live mothers to interact with. The baby monkeys with mannequin mothers also were more likely to suffer from despair. Scientists suspect that lack of bonding in human babies can cause similar problems.

There are many ways to bond with your children. The only thing it is sure to cost you is time. Lauren Passell, author of “9 Ways to Bond with Your Toddler”, list ideas such as the conventional, reading to your children and spending time with each, to the more creative, “Create a Family Language” or “pizza for breakfast”.

Help your kids be the best they can be. Show them that they are special with the time you share with them. Spend time with them, as the best moments in life are free.

Have any great experiences that you would care to share, we would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.