Building Children’s Brains, brick by brick.
Have you seen the BBC 2 documentary No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? yet? This fascinating documentary follows on from some on from some research back in 2015 that proves that a brain scan can’t determine the sex of a child. That’s right, the basic bricks of boys and girls brains are made equal and it is environment and opportunity that shape them throughout their upbringing. For parents, toy retailers and toy makers this is hugely liberating and perhaps a bit daunting!
So how can we build the right brain?
What we need to take away from these findings is how we can encourage children to engage and play with toys that exercise their spatial reasoning and logic. By doing this we can improve the likelihood that they will excel in STEM Subjects and that’s great for all kids of any gender.
The good news is that there are loads of really clever products available that offer a good brain workout but are designed to still feel like play.
One of the ranges that we demonstrate a lot in our stores (and play a lot ourselves!) is Smart Games’s fantastic range of single player, multi-levelled puzzles. Their recent additions are particularly good for younger children with their familiar fairytale theme to spark interest and the cute playing pieces are really tactile. Best of all the challenges ascend gently to build their confidence. If you’re not familiar with their products, you can get an idea of how they work from the videos below:
Some handy tips for playing the game:
- – For younger children, take a few minutes to introduce the story behind the characters.
- – Resist the temptation to choose a more difficult puzzle. Starting “easy” and then working upwards is a lot more fun!
- – Sit on your hands. Give encouragement and advice but let them work through without taking over.
- – Encourage the art of “practising”. Being instantly good at everything is not the goal.
You are what your brain can do! If you have a child that gravitates towards construction and maths toys, you’ll have a house full of toys that work this part of the brain. If you are looking for products that approach these skills from a different perspective, there are lots of options – even if they don’t say “STEM” on the box! Check out our construction category or our Brainteasers & Logic Puzzles for more ideas.