Scientists have long discovered that a baby’s brain grows very rapidly during the first few years of their lives. While it is growing, it is also mapping out a network of neurons to support its neurological circuits. The wider the network, the better the neurological circuits, and the better the capacity for supporting thinking, reasoning, and learning. However, in order for the developing brain to establish neurological circuits that are finely tuned, and mentally sharp, it must be given the right kind of stimulation. One neurological researcher, Max Cynader said, “if the child does not get the right kind of stimulus at the right age, then the neurological circuits will not develop properly”.
So nurturing your child’s learning during these formative years, from birth to age 7 yrs, is the best way to ensure that the developing neuronal nerve cells get a varied and adequate amount of stimulation. But how can you find this kind of cognitive stimulation? Be creative and search for activities that utilize strong visual stimuli; and combine them with a lot of wholesome and enjoyable “hands-on”” learning activities. This article gives you a list of the top ten visual aids that can help you acccomplish the nurturing more effectively.
1. For infants or babies up to ten months old: Hang an attractive, and colorful baby mobile above her crib. This helps her developing brain to create new images.
2.. Play with her, the dangling-object game, using a bright colored toy or colorful scarves. Tip: Hang the toy on a piece of string and allow it to spin to the rhythm of a variety of musical selections. Snatch, and hide the toy at different intervals, to stimulate her mental process.
3. Give her some soft plushy toys with interesting designs and, vivid bright colors, and allow her to explore and make things happen.
4. Dress-up the room / nursery with accessories that will increase her mental activity and attention span, and make up funny stories about the objects or animals in the design to incite her to respond and interact with you and her environment.
5. For toddlers: Affix to her wall, just above her bed, some attractive posters with characters like Dora and her friends, or characters from the Muppet family: Miss Piggy, Kermit, Elmo, Gonzo, etc.; or affix some of the popular Disney characters like Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy etc. and allow her to name them as she points to them.
6. Get her a stack of some brightly colored alphabets, cubes: and use these as aids for teaching the colors, alphabet and the numbers.
7. Give her bright colored crayons to create her own work of art. This helps with the development of her fine motor skills. Encourage her along the way, with praise and commendation to build her self –confidence and self- esteem. Push for her to finish, and affix it to an art corner on her wall, or on a project display board in her room.
8. Give her a variety of puzzles: Puzzles boost concentration, boost problem solving skills, reasoning ability, and confidence. They also strengthen spatial perception, and lead to a better mental performance.
9. Give her the toys that will arouse her interest to explore. Often times this inspires creativity, leading her to create some of the most fantastic things in her dreamed up world of fantasy. In this world, of fantasy, she will learn many valuable lessons through the toys as she plays with them.
10. Give her at least one toy to play outdoors with her friends. This teaches social skills such as teamwork and sharing.