A Toy to Benefit Your Child’s Learning

Rachel Roach

u0973427

http://fisher-price.mattel.com/shop/en-us/fp/15067?_ga=1.97503833.738863941.1486547796

This product, Laugh & Learn® Puppy’s A to Z Smart Pad, is a board, about 12”X12”, it has buttons on it that have all of the letters of the alphabet on them and a picture that pertains to that letter. (1) A is an alligator, B is a bee, C is a car, etc. There is a speaker in the upper-left-hand corner where it says the letter so the child can learn how to say it and the picture associated with that letter. There is also a clock in the upper-right-hand corner where the child learns numbers and about different times of the day. On the left-hand side of the board there is a column of shapes that are all different colors. This is for the child to learn shapes and colors. When you put the orange slider over a particular shape it tells you what shape and color it is. The puppy button in the lower-right-hand corner says phrases and sings different songs for your child to hear. You can switch up the learning difficulty by switching the level on the smart stages slider. There are three stages: Level 1 – “Learn—Introduces your toddler to letters, shapes, colors, animals, objects & more!” Level 2 – “Engage—Objects & Sounds.” This option gives your child two modes to differentiate objects and learn different sounds. Level 3 – “Imagine—Plays songs about what the hands on a clock do, as well as numbers, colors & shapes too!” (1).

This toy is marketed towards kids between 1½ and 3 years old. It’s $25.00 so it is pretty reasonably priced for all of the benefits you get out of it. Some benefits that you get out of this toy: all of the different colors and lights stimulate the senses of your child making it so they come back to play with it again and again; it teaches your child about letters, time, and different objects at an early age so that they will be ready when they go into preschool; and this toy also helps your child learn eye-hand coordination with all of the different buttons they get to press. This toy is interesting to write about to me because it has so many different things that you can do with it and it’s a really good way for your child to learn about the basics and have fun while doing so.

In Bornstein, at this point in a child’s life, (1½-3 years), they now know how to (2) “imagine the whereabouts of an invisible object for the first time.” If a ball rolled under and out from under a couch they now know that they can look on the other side of the couch to get the ball back and play with it again. Children of this age group can now imitate things that they have seen or people that they interact with when that person isn’t there. They are picking up on how to do things by themselves and adapting to how other people act; this is called deferred imitation. One more thing that children learn to do at this age is how to problem solve.

The goals of the study in (3) The Development of Infant Memory are that they wanted to find if the memory of an infant is as similar to that of an adult. How they tested this was they took infants and had them do different tasks for a couple of minutes. They would have the child do the same thing a couple weeks later and see if they remembered what to do to be successful in the task again. They noticed that the longer they had the child do the task the first time the more-likely they would be to remember the task a couple weeks later. They also had different delays between the time that they did the tasks to see if that would distract the child and make it so they wouldn’t remember how to complete the task.

I think that because of this study and the findings I can say that the Laugh & Learn Puppy’s A to Z Smart Pad does support the claim of academics. The study shows us that infants can remember things almost to the same degree that an adult can. Because of this it shows me that an infant playing with this toy learns the alphabet, colors, and different objects even if they were under the age limits (1½-3 years old.) This study doesn’t really support the claim that this toy (1) “fosters eye-hand coordination with variety of buttons to press.” That doesn’t really have anything to do with memory, but I guess memory comes into play because they have to remember what button to press to have a certain sound come out of it.

Overall I think that this product is very useful for children between the ages of 1½-3 years old because it has so many different learning options. From learning the basics of colors, numbers, and the alphabet to learning different songs and allowing them to be more creative.

Sources Cited:

(1) Mattel. (2016). Laugh & Learn ® Puppy’s A to Z Smart Pad [Advertisement]. Retrieved from http://fisher-price.mattel.com/shop/en-us/fp/15067?_ga=1.97503833.738863941.1486547796

(2) Bornstein, M.H., Arterberry, M.E., & Lamb, M.E. (2014). Development in infancy: A contemporary introduction (5th) (pg. 172). New York, NY: Psychology Press

(3) Rovee-Collier, Carolyn. (1999). The Development of Infant Memory [Journal]. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1467-8721.00019

Is Sesame Street Educational?

Sarah Riley UNID 1129762

Is Sesame Street Educational?

I chose to write about Sesame Street. “November 1999 marks the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Sesame Street on American television. For 30 years, Sesame Street has entertained and enlightened children across the United States and around the world” (Fisch, Truglio & Cole. 2001). This is one of the reasons I chose to research Sesame Street; it has been around for so many years and I watched it and loved it as a child. I wanted to take the opportunity to be able to learn about what makes this show so popular. It has stuck around for years and is supposed to be very educational. I wanted to see if I could find what aspects make this show so successful. Is has also become popular in other countries over the years because it has so much success on being educational for children. Watching television is such a controversial topic these days in relation to children. This is another reason I wanted to learn more about what makes a television show a successful educational tool. If it was not providing high success rate in educating children I do not think it would be around as long as it has and produced in different countries as well and different languages.

Sesame Street was intended for preschoolers, younger children to get them ready for school. As well as low-income and minority children, to help them get ready for school. The goal of the show was to help prepare children for school; not just academically with numbers and letters, but socially with interpersonal skills, self-confidence and help build skills that would help children in a peer setting like cooperation. It was also to help with children growing up in low-income families who do not always have an equal opportunity to education, by helping them receive more of a chance to learn that does not cost anything. Among low-income and minority families there is a higher chance they will not get the pre-education to prepare them for school and social situations because their parents most likely are working more and are not around as much to provide as many learning opportunities. They also are most likely to not have as much access to higher quality learning toys and tools as some other children may have to help them prepare for school.

There have been many researches done with children who watch or have watched Sesame Street. The educational impact of Sesame Street was first documented in a pair of studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS; Ball & Bogatz, 1970; Bogatz & Ball, 1971). This study focused on children ranging from 3-5 year olds, some were encouraged to watch Sesame Street whether in school or at home and some were not. They studied 1,000 children and most of which were to be considered to have disadvantaged backgrounds. The study lasted 26 weeks, the children watched Sesame Street from about 1- more than 5 times in a week. Children were tested before and after the 26 weeks by extensive battery of measures that covered several dimensions: knowledge of the alphabet and numbers, names of body parts, recognition of forms, knowledge of relational terms, and sorting and classification skills. They found the more the child had watched the show had the greatest gains. These results ranged the same across all children in the study. The University of Kansas did a longitudinal study that was more recent and I found very interesting. They tested children at a few different ages over the years up into high school. When they tested these children in preschool they “spent more time reading and engaged in educational activities. In addition, these children performed significantly better than their peers on age-appropriate standardized achievement tests of letter-word knowledge, mathematics skills, vocabulary size, and school readiness” (Fisch, Truglio & Cole. 20011). University of Kansas and the University of Massachusetts conducted a study together of high school students who had watched Sesame Street when they were in preschool. The results showed the children who did watch the show had a significant impact on their academics in school. Those who watched Sesame Street had higher grades in math, science and English.

Sesame Street does not only show a positive impact on academic skills, but social behaviors as well. It helps children so much in their social environment. It helps them become more cooperative, learn their different social settings, work well with other peers, identifying other people’s roles in society and much more. This is another example of how it helps prepare children for school because it helps teach them how to react in social environments and work with peers. Sesame Street also helps touch on tough social situations and explain them in a way a child can understand without making it scary or complicate. This also helps parents learn to talk to their kids and explain situations to them. One of the examples of this in the article was death of a long-time character on the show and was a close friend to many of the characters on the show. Marriage, love, divorce, race-relations, adoption are a few more examples that the show helps explain along with much more.

Sesame Street has been around for over forty years now. It has expanded to Mexico, Brazil, Canada and Germany as well. I do not think it would have stuck around for so many years if it was not showing such great success rates. There are many researches done in regards to the show. I was not aware of all the many things Sesame Street teaches and helps children with. It is a very useful, educational opportunity for children and parents as well. It helps touch on difficult social situations to help parents in explaining and having a better idea how to handle difficult situations with their child. It provides children with social and academic skills helping to prepare them for school. If they do not learn as much academically it definitely helps children become more comfortable, prepared and aware for society and social situations.

 

References

Fisch, S., Truglio, R. T., Cole, C. F., (2001). The impact of Sesame Street on preschool children: A review and synthesis of 30 years’ research.

doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.lib.utah.edu/10.1207/s1532785xmep0102_5

Here is a preview for a Sesame Street episode for numbers.

Here is Michelle Obama talking about the importance of healthy breakfast

The Buzz about White Noise

By Greg Stokes (u0381020)

white-noise-machine-pic

Ah, sleep. The often just out of reach prize for parents of infants. Luckily, you can buy a white noise machine that will soothe and calm your baby right to sleep, allowing you to catch a few zzzz’s yourself. The SoundBub is one of the most highly rated white noise machines on Amazon.com today (https://www.amazon.com/SoundBub-Portable-Bluetooth-Speaker-Soother/dp/B01HP06EFW/ref=sr_1_16_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1487301630&sr=8-16&keywords=white%2Bnoise%2Bmachine%2Bbaby&th=1), though you can find a hundred similar devices. Its soft, adorable frame (available in owl, bear, and bunny form) is made out of chew-safe materials, allowing you to put the machine right in your baby’s crib, which will be sure to blocksout any of dad’s snoring.  It is also Bluetooth enabled, allowing parents the freedom to control the device from afar. While marketed as an “infant soother”, white noise machines are considered appropriate for all children.

As my wife and I prepare to travel to Europe later this year, articles that talk about how to travel internationally with kids have caught my eye. One of the recommendations I have seen several times is to travel with a white noise machine, because it brings the comfort of home with you and blocks out any unusual noise from your foreign surroundings, helping kids maintain a healthy sleeping schedule. This advice surprised me, as neither my wife nor I have ever used a white noise machine and know little about them. We were lucky, I guess, to both have fathers who considered themselves master story tellers. Our bedtime routines were similar in the sense that our fathers would tell us a story “from their mouth”. Stories “from their mouth” are different from reading a book, as our fathers would simply make-up a narrative on the spot, usually with us and our siblings as the main characters. This seems much simpler to me than having to remember to pack another item for traveling!

 

This led me to do some research regarding the effect of white noise machines on infant development, specifically with the importance of language exposure in mind. Compared to the stories I was raised with, I hypothesized that a white noise machine would have some negative effects on brain development.

 

Jean Piaget, the famous Swiss biologist and philosopher, organized the cognitive development of infants into six different stages (Bornstein, 2014). Stage one (birth to one month) shows us that babies are not really learning all that much from their environment yet, but they do discover that hearing can be a way to act on the world (Piaget calls this a scheme) (Bornstein, 2014). In stage two (one to four months), babies start to coordinate their different schemes. An example of this coordination is when a baby turns its head in response to a source of sound; this helps with the cognitive development of looking and hearing simultaneously (Bornstein, 2014). Hearing is obviously an important part of cognitive development, which to me implies that the sounds we introduce into an infant’s environment will have some effect on their cognitive development.

 

The research I found on white noise machines supported my hypothesis, to some degree. Nina Kraus, a research biologist at Northwestern University, has spent most of her career trying to understand how sound affects the brain. Her research has found that the future reading ability of a child as young as three can be predicted based on their brain’s response to different sounds (Flanagan, 2016). Her research also further supports the finding that the actual number of words an infant hears matters and can have a significant influence on their learning abilities (Hart, 2013). This becomes a particular issue for infants growing up in poverty, which I learned can hear up to 30 million fewer words than their peers in higher socioeconomic homes (Hart, 2013). Infants raised in poverty are also at risk for living in an environment that is characterized by chronic background noise (Skoe, 2013). Chronic background noise is associated with several auditory and learning problems such as reducing the brain’s sensitivity to sound and slowing auditory growth (Skoe, 2016).

 

White noise machines, specifically, can have a negative effect on a developing brain for more than just these reasons. These devices, which emit “meaningless sound,” as Kraus put it, can interfere with how the brain develops sound-processing circuitry (Flanagan, 2016). According to Kraus (Flanagan, 2016):

“A child’s brain is always seeking meaning…if you give them meaningless sound, it may have a disruptive effect on their brain organization.”

 

As I see it, white noise machines have a few potential negative effects on the cognitive development of infants. One, because they emit what Kraus calls a “meaningless sound”, the auditory processing parts of an infant’s brain is affected. Two, white noise machines can contribute to chronic background noise, which reduces the brain’s sensitivity to sound and auditory growth. Three, and arguably the most important thing to consider, is that white noise machines do not provide language exposure and takes away the opportunity for parents to provide this additional exposure through storytelling and reading out loud.

 

However, I cannot conclude that any product that helps with the sleep of both infants and their parents is all negative. Sleep, we know, is essential for cognitive health and overall well-being. So I would recommend to parents who have an infant that is not sleeping well to try a white noise machine, but only as a last attempt.

 

 

 

References:

Bornstein, M.H., Arterberry, M.E., & Lamb, M.E. (2014). Development in Infancy. New York: Psychology Press.

 

Flanagan, L. (2016). What Types of Sound Experiences Enable Children to Learn Best? Mindshift – KQED News. Retrieved from: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/11/28/what-types-of-sound-experiences-enable-children-to-learn-best/

 

Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (2003). The Early Catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. American Educator.

 

Skoe, E., Krizman, J., & Kraus, N. (2013). The Impoverished Brain: Disparities in Maternal Education Affect the Neural Response to Sound. Journal of Neuroscience, 33 (44): 17221-17231.

 

Baby beats

 

Image result for bright beats

Christian Fehr u0815777

http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/baby/fpbaby/bright-beats/index.html

There are many ways in which infants and children learn, both from their attachment figures and their environment.  One of the most important ways in which children learn, especially in today’s age, is through interaction with toys.  The Fischer Price Bright Beats toy is an interactive toy for infants, meant to help them develop in a fast and fun way through multiple sources of stimulation.  The toy features different figures, and a learning dance mat which lights up and plays music for your baby to get them happy and excited.  The toy also features a light bar that has many different touch displays, including numbers and colors for your child to touch and interact with.  Along with being very visually stimulating, the bright beats also claim that having sung songs and voice interactions included into the toy helps with the child’s learning (colors, numbers, alphabet) and overall experience with the toy.

After looking at an Ad and the website for this product, I found what this products benefits are for children and their families.  There are three main areas in which the bright beats toy is meant to help your child.  The first is cognitively, saying that the energizing music helps introduce the youngsters by dancing along while learning letters, colors and more. The second benefit that is promoted is physical, ensuring that the bright beats toy helps build motor skills and coordination by clapping and moving around/dancing with the toy.  The third benefit is social, stating that the music along with the various visual and auditory stimulations helps produce a fun and mood-lifting environment for both the child and their caregivers. Research shows that interactive learning is the most effective for children at this age.  Many toys targeted at this age group will be simple, yet extravagant by design to stimulate the child.  The bright beats toy provides an abundance of this through song, dance, interactive touch, and auditory responses.  The different methods of information processing for the infant is thought to enrich their level of learning and boost their cognitive and physical ability.

The product’s website, while simplified, highlight how some of these mechanisms are used in the toy and how the child benefits.  I agree with the claim that the product helps the child cognitively and physically, but not socially.  Like many toys today, the bright beats can be used handily without a caregiver’s help or presence.  While this may help promote problem solving and independence for the infant, it does not promote any interaction with a caregiver or an attachment figure.  We know this attachment is crucial for the infant as it develops throughout their life, and we also know that play is a crucial way in which infants learn through their environment.

Children learn though play and their experiences as they progress through their lives.  Early learning experiences can be enhanced by toys and a rich environment.  These experiences as we know are crucial for development, and toy companies are trying to promote this development in their products.  The bright beats is a good example of a toy that is designed with the child in mind, with simple yet engaging features with different aspects of development targeted.  Whether the product reflects what they are trying to achieve developmentally is another story, but the idea that toy companies are open about what their toy is meant for is a good thing.  As we discover more about how infants learn and develop, toys companies should continue to integrate new information into how they develop their products.

 

References

Using toys to Support Infant-Toddler Learning and Development., Guyton, Gabriel.  Young                     Children, September 2011

Development in Infancy, Borstein, Arterberry, Lamb, 5th edition, Chapters 7,8

Brushing Aside the Facts

Keegan Summers

Do you wish there was a cure for teething? Do you wish you could have an infant toy that doesn’t cause your child to choke? Are you sick of your toddler not being able to brush his own teeth? Well let me tell you, Amazon claims to have the right product for you!

The product that Amazon is selling is named Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether. One of the claims made about the product is that it develops good oral hygiene early to prevent cavities later, it helps to soothe sore teething gums with durable massaging bristles, and it has handles that are easy for baby to hold, while preventing choking. Sounds like a great product for infant development right?

Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether, Yellow

Why am I interested about this add and why would I spend my time researching about it? This add called my attention because I felt like the product seemed pretty unique, and quite frankly it sounds a little silly to me. The toy has been made for infants between ages three to twelve months old. The idea for the toy is that it help the infant be able to develop the habit to brush their teeth and keep up their hygiene at a young age. It is also made to help teething babies deal with the pain associated with teething. It also uses a great marketing tool by saying it is a safe toy and actually prevents choking.  My first thought was how in the world this could actually help a child develop a habit of brushing his or her teeth at such a young age. My other concern that I had was how does this actually help with teething?
M Wake distributed a survey to parents of 92 infants (that had a mean age of 9.9 months) which had them complete questionnaires regarding what teething causes. The results showed that most of the parents that took the questionnaire (about 70 to 80 percent) thought that teething causes fever, pain, irritability, sleep disturbance, mouthing/biting, drooling, and also red cheeks. About 30-55 percent of the survey participants believed that teething caused rash, ear pulling, feeding problems, runny nose, loose stools and certain types of infections.  Some (about 15 percent) believed that teething was a contributor to causing smelly urine and constipation. Only one person in the survey believed that teething caused no problems. The research concluded that teething is a phenomenon that is very ill defined but that in reality ,most symptoms of teething are minor and more related to discomfort rather than actually causing certain illnesses.

Okay now that we know this interesting study about teething babies how is this related to a banana toothbrush product? The research that was conducted and the results give us a pretty good idea about what are some common misconceptions of teething. What it sounds like is that teething is often the scapegoat for why bad things happen to our infants. This product uses this to its advantage by playing on consumers emotions to buy the product. Its claim is simple, it helps to soothe sore teething gums, but by saying that it tries to persuade parents to think that this will help solve many of the issues that are associated with teething. Very smart marketing, but this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.

The other question about the product is if it really is possible to help an infant get into the habit of brushing their teeth. Bornstein explains some concepts related to this in his work Development in Infancy. One of these topics is Piaget’s theory involving adaptation.  Adaptation is developed in infancy and one part of adaptation is a process called assimilation. Assimilation is when information is processed according to a specific scheme, it is then assigned to a specific sense(taste, touch, vision, and so forth). To help us with this concept Bornstein gives us this example:

a newborn infant who mouths a finger and starts sucking it is said to have assimilated the finger to the sucking scheme. For the moment, the finger has a single meaning or function—it is suckable.

Newborns find that the fingers usefulness is to be sucked on. Obviously as time goes on the child learns new uses for his/her fingers, and will eventually forget that he used to use his fingers primarily for sucking on. Will something similar not happen with the banana toothbrush trainer? Just because they might frequently put it in their mouth does that mean they are developing better hygiene?

We also know that during infancy habituation comes into play. That is, the baby will respond slower (not show as much interest) to a stimulus that is constantly available to him. This just tells me that the infant may show more interest in the banana toothbrush product at first, but after various times playing with or chewing on the toy, the infant will soon lose interest and find something else to play with or stick in his mouth.

This product has received 5,215 customer reviews and comes out with a 4 and a half star rating. Lots of people have bought this product to help their child in one way or another. It’s a very cute product, not very expensive, but seems to brush aside certain aspects of infant development that contradict its claims.

On a side note, after reading through some customer reviews, I found many customers were dissatisfied that the Baby Banana Toothbrush bristles actually could be bitten off and was found to be a choking hazard. That seems a little impossible though, after all the product did advertise that it was a product designed to help with preventing choking.

Sources:

Wake, M., Hesketh, K., & Allen, M. (2002, June 19). Parent beliefs about infant teething. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1046/j.1440-1754.1999.355395.x

Bornstein, M. H., Arterberry, M. E., & Lamb, M. E. (2014). Development in Infancy(5th ed.). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Banana-Training-Toothbrush-Teether/dp/B002QYW8LW/ref=sr_1_9_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1487283259&sr=8-9&keywords=baby%2Blearning&th=1

 

 

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR BUILDING BLOCKS

 

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BY HANNAH RENTZ – u0991445

Product: https://www.amazon.com/Rolimate-Educational-Preschool-Recognition-Geometric/dp/B0177TS0AI/ref=sr_1_11_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1486577957&sr=1-11&keywords=educational+toys+for+1+year+old

Article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03004430.2016.1154049?journalCode=gecd20

This product is a stacking shape game, made for children to determine which wooden shape is stacked on which set of pegs.  The game/puzzle set is designed to help develop dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and shape recognition.  The toy is completely made of wood, with no flashing lights or electronic pieces, and the shape pieces are painted red, green, yellow, and blue.  It is titled to be targeted toward toddlers from ages three to five.  This product is interesting because it doesn’t utilize electronics and flashing lights to entertain the toddler or grab their attention.  This makes this toy unique in this day and age.

From the ages of three to five, children are reaching many milestones when it comes to social behaviors, communication, dexterity, comprehension, and balance.  At this point, they begin to learn even more deeply by experience and trial and error.  Conversations between the child and caretakers become even more in depth and intricate, and learning by conversation becomes easier.  Now that they have a greater concept of depth, shapes, and concepts.

In the research article I found, it discusses children’s use of inquiry and questioning to learn.  However it also reports that children preschool-age rarely come to conclusions about their questions themselves through the use of things like observation and predictions (Hollingsworth 187).  Therefore, through the use of this toy, the children may be able to discover things of their own doing, instead of asking others.  They can also explore the variations of what they can do with the toy instead of just asking about you.

This product doesn’t directly apply itself to the main types of learning and growth that three to five year olds utilize.  Where children this age are beginning to use their language skills to learn and utilize information in the world, this toy focuses more on dexterity and hand-eye coordination that is learned in earlier years and months.  However, due to the smaller size of this toy, it is not necessarily safe in the use of small children that would be learning hand-eye coordination and dexterity.  At that age, children also tend to put things in their mouths in order to understand and sense the world.  

In conclusion, this toy does work just fine for children from ages three to five; however, it does nothing to help encourage the social and communicative growth for that age group. It does help with coordination and imaginative play, however, that is not necessarily necessary for the children.  The puzzle-solving aspect of the toy is the only beneficial aspect of it.  

Citation:

Hollingsworth, Heidi L., & Vandermaas-Peeler, Maureen (2016). Almost Everything We Do Includes Inquiry’: Fostering Inquiry-based Teaching and Learning With Preschool Teachers. Taylor Francis Online, 1, 187.

Are Nightlights Good for Children?

Christopher Ogle u1040039

With Bright Starts’s toys ”Fun Comes First” and the Lilypad Lullaby 3-in-1 Projector claims to be no exception. This friendly little frog is sure to become “your little one’s new favorite nighttime pal” with its many convenient features and soothing nighttime qualities. This special nightlight can soothe your child to sleep with its comforting, soft lights and quiet, fun sounds simply by tapping the eyes. When lifted of the base, this frog companion can function as a lantern to navigate a dark room. Parents can also set the lights and sounds to turn off automatically after either 15 or 30 minutes. So if your restless child could benefit from the relaxing qualities of a nightlight, than this Lillypad Lullaby 3-in-1 Projector is just for you!

The page for the toy set age limits at 0 to 36 months but advertised more towards 3 to 4 year old toddlers. For the purpose of this post I will treat the toy as made for the 3 to 4 year old demographic. This, to me, seems the more appropriate age for fully interacting with the toy.

As far as night lights go, this product sounds like an excellent choice; but, the question rises whether or not you should have a night light for your child. I found an article titled Should You Use a Baby Night Light which presented arguments for and against using a night light. The article explained that an infant needs it’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, to set in a way that promotes more sleep during the night and less during the day. This reflex is greatly affected by light in the environment and excessive light can hinder melatonin production, an essential component of good sleep. At the age of 3 to 4 a toddler typically will be getting most there sleep at night with a nap or two during the day (Bornstein et al. pg.115). A night light can interrupt sleep and have a large impact on the quality of your sleep (National Sleep Foundation). With that information it can be concluded that a nightlight could potentially hinder the quality of sleep for a child.

Although the National Sleep Foundation recommends a dark environment for sleep, it also recommends using a low level light to prepare your brain to settle into sleep. This is where a nightlight, particularly one that can automatically shut itself off, can be very beneficial. Furthermore, a dim light, like the lantern functionality of the Bright Starts toy, can assist a parent with checking on their child without disturbing the child’s sleep. Some children are calmer with a night light and may enjoy the visual stimulation provided by the dim light in the case they wake up (Agadoni).

Now the way I see it, a nightlight has the potential of really helping a child sleep, and although strong light can interrupt healthy sleeping habits, an appropriately dimmed nightlight can avoid such consequence. Nightlights are by no means something I would tell every parent to use, but I think it is an acceptable and useful option. The Lilypad Lullaby 3-in-1 Projector is a great option as a nightlight because of its appropriate level of illumination, automatic shut-off system, and easily intractable system (even if they mistakenly called it a frog and a toad).

Agadoni, L. (2015). Should You Use a Baby Night Light? Care.com, Inc.

Bornstein, M.H.; Arterberry, M.E. & Lamb, M.E. (2014) Development in Infancy (5th Edition). Psychology Press

 

 

 

 

 

Is Sesame Street a one-way road?

Austin Nguyen

u0886358

 

           Parents try to provide the best for their children, so when they’re not able or too busy, is it appropriate to resort to using a form of educational program? Sesame Street has been promoting the idea of educational child-friendly media since 1969. From their catchy songs to their upbeat cast, children all across the country have had their eyes glued to Elmo’s eccentric movements. But is this truly the best form of educating young children today?

           Children and media viewership has always been called into question, but in 2011, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) was directly linked to an overall reduction in both the amount and quality of child-parent interaction as well as the children’s creative play. This was regardless if the television was on in the background of the foreground (Taylor 2015). This laid the ground for a negative stigma associated with parents who use educational television as a form of alternative parenting. This also goes against Piaget’s Theory of Knowledge (Bornstein, Arterberry, & Lamb p. 168), where children learn from actions rather than passive observations that television provides. This is where parents are most important in their child’s development if they choose to provide them with educational television. The parent must be willing to interact with their child and ask questions about their program, such as the new number that The Count talked about.

           There are other techniques that the producers could do alongside the parent in order to enhance the child’s experience with their program. One method is that children learn most effectively by being repeatedly exposed to information (Taylor 2015). This would allow a child to solidify the knowledge they learned about what is the best sweets vegetable from the Cookie Veggie Monster. Producers could also give a hand in this by providing repetition within a program, such as repeating new phrases or sequences. This slows down the learning considerably for children to really absorb the information in front of them even if their parents aren’t available to interact with the  information that they just learned.

           Another aspect of Piaget’s Theory of Knowledge (Bornstein, Arterberry, & Lamb. P 177) is learning through familiar faces. This is evident when infants mimic the faces of their caretaker. If character(s) within Sesame Street seem more familiar to the children, they could be more willing to mimic their favorite character. This in turn could provide you with a child who dresses up like a vampire and tells you random numbers throughout the day, but hey, they can count to one hundred.

           I believe the purpose of sesame street is to provide a children a wide variety of information they can access in short, bite-sized portions. They seem to be doing a good job of it since they’ve been on air for over 35 seasons. The main issue with providing children with the alternative of educational based programs is they will usually not be as educational as they could be if the parent isn’t able to interact with the children and solidify their knowledge. This could be done is short segments such as watching the program here and there alongside them and discussing what they saw after the episode had finished or during commercial breaks. If this were the case then I believe that educational programs would be an acceptable alternative to constant parent-child interactions.

 

 

References

 

Hill, D.L., (2016). Why to avoid TV before age 2. Healthy Children.

Taylor, G., (2015). Why watching TV can actually be good for toddlers. The Washington Post.

Bornstein, M.H., Arterberry, M.E., & Lamb, M.E. (2014). Development in Infancy (5th Edition). Psychology Press

 

Sesame Street season 35 description

Tech Savvy Toddler

Shantavia Mackey

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I chose to review the Leapfrog ® Leappad (http://www.leapfrog.com/en-ca/store/p/leappad-platinum/_/A-prod31565). I picked this product because I found it interesting that a child’s learning toy resembled that of an adult tablet device. This product works very similar to a normal tablet in that you can download apps and a variety of eBooks. The major difference between the Leappad and a tablet is that the Leappad is marketed toward children between the ages of 3-9. Strangely enough the website that advertises the product doesn’t explain much about the educational benefits are but instead focuses on the graphics and processor. When I looked at an overview of the toy under the product tab of the same website, it explained that theses tablets were designed to help prepare children for the 21st Century while fueling thinking and imagination. This product is very relevant to today because so much of our time is spent using some form of technology.

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According to Bornstien, “By 6 months, almost all the physiological immaturities that might restrict attention, perception, and information processing have disappeared […]”(p.185) This means that at age 3, children have longer attention spans to stimulus and may actually benefit from such interactive devices. They will also be able to retain the information they receive and put more critical thought into the educational apps.

I found an article called Preschool Children’s Learning with Technology at Home. The article looked at the affect of technologically based toys on children’s learning at home. Among the toys looked at in their research was the Leappad. The article also focused on children who were 3 years old which fits perfectly into the target age range for this toy. The study followed 14 families over an  18 month period through an ecocultural approach, where they looked at not only the children but also the family dynamic and how it contributed to the use of electronic toys in the household. The study found that technology based learning toys actually have a positive impact on children. The researchers understood that a main concern when it comes to electronics is an over exposure but because they also took into account family practices and routines (which had a great affect on the amount of  exposure time) they were able to go below those surface issues. They saw how these toys could impact more than just a child’s operational skill but also help the child understand the major role technology plays in today’s society.

The Leappad and similar tablet products claimed to prepare children for the 21st Century, as I stated early and based on the research done in the Preschool Children’s Learning with Technology at Home article that seems to hold true. I can see the potential benefits of toys like these because kids seem to benefit from interactive learning material. The only downfall I would see with this product is still that possibility of over exposure. The study talked about how family dynamics had an affect on the amount of time a child spent playing with these toys. To me this also means that children who aren’t raised in a household where play time is monitored may actually be spending too much time on these toys.

In conclusion, I believe that the Leappad, used in moderation, can have a positive impact on a child’s learning. With society moving further and further into a world run by technology it’s important for young children to have a good understanding of technology and how it shapes their world.

Bibliography:

Bornstein, M. H., Arterberry, M. E., & Lamb, M. E. (2014). Development in infancy: a   contemporary introduction. New York: Psychology Press.

Plowman, L., Stevenson, O., Stephen, C., & Mcpake, J. (2012). Preschool children’s   learning with technology at home. Computers & Education,59(1), 30-37. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.11.014

 

 

 

 

 

Workout for infants: Baby Gym Helps Development of Children

By: Victoria Whimpey

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http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70108177/

Above is a link to the infamous toy known as a “baby gym.” This is a device where an infant is typically set down laying on its back, with the toys dangling above it as a form of entertainment. The dangling objects directly above the infant are typically ranging in color with sharp contrasts and movements to aid the attention of the baby. This toy is advertised for use of the ages zero to eighteen months. What makes it so appealing to parents is the fact that it is claimed to help infants hand eye coordination when they reach out for the toys and the range of colors, contrast, and movement of the dangling objects stimulate the baby’s eyesight. I chose to talk about this product because of how widely used it is. I grew up babysitting a lot of families including infants of my own family, and it’s where mothers would place their child while they gave me directions, place if they were fussing, or just when the baby seemed bored the baby gym seemed like the designated place to put the infant. It fascinated me that simply reaching at dangling pieces of plastic entertained the child. And when I asked, every parent claimed it helped the baby’s development in some way or another, and would direct me to use the baby gym as well for these same reasons. So, I’m curious if these toys actually help with the development of an infant, or are just there for the sole purpose of entertainment.

This entertainment targets infants between 0 and 18 months. Is simply reaching at dangling objects beneficial to this age group? In Bornstein’s text, it is said that newborns, or baby’s age “0”, are able to visualize a moving object and reach for it. This early, then, infants are able to participate in this toy with the moving objects capturing its attention, and the ability to start to reach for it. The same book says that by around 2 and a half months, babies are able to better coordinate their reaches to the objects and even grasp those toys. At 5 months, they understand that if an object is out of their reach, they won’t attempt to reach for it. With the entertainment being within reach, they will reach, perhaps even more so than before with this knowledge, for the dangling pieces. And by nine months, they can reach with one glance at the toy. With this, infants may start to get bored of this play toy around this time, when it is advertised to apply until eighteen months. Bornstein states that the development of being able to reach one arm separately than the other is crucial to the ability to crawl. Practicing reaching for dangling toys as much as I’ve seen infants placed in this device, infants must be unintentionally practicing to reach one after the other, ultimately aiding their ability to crawl. With the ability to crawl, this form of entertainment may eventually lead to an infant’s emotional and social development. Bornstein’s book states that infants develop socially and emotionally once crawling and this includes the display of further attachment, an increase in anger display, and become more interested in interactive games. If this toy does, in fact, aid the development of reaching with different arms, then in turn, it aids crawling and the social and emotional development of an infant.

The research article, “Toy-oriented changes in early arm movement II–Joint kinematics.” Asks the question whether toys speed up the process of reaching or not. They believe that without toys, reaching wouldn’t be achieved at such an early age because of the fact that it’s not needed. They tested this hypothesis by using infants of similar ages (approximately eight weeks at the start) and testing level of reaching with or without the presence of a toy to reach for every other week until the infants reached about 20 weeks old. After this, these researchers concluded that babies did, in fact, reach more in the presence of toys as opposed to the absence of them. With this, it becomes more evident that baby gyms may aid the motor development of an infant.

With the information I have found doing this research, I have found that baby gyms are in fact beneficial to not just the motor development of an infant, but their social and emotional development as well. It is advertised to help a baby’s hand eye coordination, which is backed up by facts stated in Bornstein’s book as well as the research article that I found. However, the claim that the contrasting colors of the dangling toys help stimulate the baby’s eyesight, was not supported by my findings, as none of the articles I read said anything about sensory development being affected by the baby gym.

With the information I have found on this product, I better understand why so many parents so frequently use this toy for their infants. For whatever reason they need it in the moment, it seemingly, in the long run, helps infants with the development of not only motor skills, but potentially social and emotional skills with the assistance in crawling.

References

Bhat, A. N., Lee, H. M., & Galloway, J. C. (2007). Toy-oriented changes in early arm movement II–Joint kinematics. Infant Behavior & Development, 30(2), 307-324. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2006.10.007

Bornstein, M. H., Arterberry, M. E., & Lamb, M. E. (2014). Development in infancy: a contemporary introduction. New York: Psychology Press.