The product I chose is called the OombeeCube. It is a cube that has cutouts for different shapes. The cube has the same shapes attached to a string to fit on the cube. Since they are attached to a tethered thick string the pieces will never get lost. The age targeted is around 10 months. This product claims to be beneficial for encouraging fine motor skills, sensory learning, tactile exploration, and visual-spacial skills. The reason the product interests me is because I have nephews that are infants. I never know what toys to buy for Christmas or birthdays. Also, when I was a youngster I loved the boxes with the shapes cut out and you had to fit the shape into the box; much similar to this.
The link to this particular ad is: https://www.fatbraintoys.com/cart/video.cfm?youtube_id=mY17rn2scto
The type of learning that infants display varies as they age. At 3 months they are readily conditioned. By 6 months the infants have almost all physiological immaturities that may restrict attention, perception, and information processing. As their curiosity grows it ensures repeated opportunities to learn.
In the research article, Interproblem Learning in Ten-Monlh-Old Infants by Jeffrey W. Fagen at Northern Illinois University, they did a research study to see the ability of 10 month old infants to acquire object discrimination. They did this through assessing learning-set tasks. 4 infants (2 male and 2 female white infants) received 2 sessions per day for 10 days totaling of 20 sessions. Each discriminative problem presented different stimuli. They tried to approach criterion performance. The approach taken on Day 1 was presenting the infants with 42 discrimination trials and Day 2 the trials were repeated. The consecutive correct responses defined the discrimination as learning.
Link to the article: http://content.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/ContentServer.asp?T=P&P=AN&K=10402237&S=L&D=aph&EbscoContent=dGJyMNLe80Sep7Q4xNvgOLCmr0%2Bep7VSsKm4SbCWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGvrkmuqLZOuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA
I think the similarities in findings from the article to the advertised toy are that an infant will learn how to place these shapes in the same way. They will repeat multiple times until the find the correct placements. Once the correct placement is found they will repeat the placements to continue to be correct.
The commercial states that the child will benefit with fine motor skills, sensory learning, tacticle exploration and visual-special skills. The learning of visual-spacial skills and sensory learning are supported by the research article. However, the research article does not support the motor skills are developed. A potential harm, in my opinion would be that the string/ rope that ties the shapes to the cube could potentially wrap around a child’s limb (finger, wrist, etc).
I think overall the product is a fun, cute toy. Does it benefit the child? Potentially. I don’t think it is a learning enhancing toy but could enhance some of the child’s developments.
Bornstein, M.H., Arterberry, M.E., & Lamb, M.E. (2014). Development in Infancy (Fifth Edition). Psychology Press.
Fagen, J.M. (1977). Interproblem Learning in Ten-Monlh-Old Infants. Northern Illinois University.
Fat Brain Toys. Oombee Cube. Web Accessed (February 15, 2016).