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Toys and development from theory to research

The first a year of the child's life are crucial for physical and cognitive development. At half a year an infant should be able to reach for and grasp items so that during calendar months 6-12 they learn to transfer objects from one hands to the other, grasp a spoon across their hand, can sit without support, get started to crawl, yank themselves up and walk with assistance, and may start to walk without assistance. These procedure for these trends are discussed in cognitive theories.

One of the very most important cognitive theorists of development is Jean Piaget (1896-1980). 'Piaget proposed that a child is born with a repertoire of sensory and engine strategies, such as looking, tasting, touching, hearing and achieving' (Boyd & Bee, 2009). Through the procedure of assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration, a child's strategies evolve into more technical mental plans. Piaget proposed that happens through the span of four periods: sensorimotor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal functional stage. It is the sensorimotor stage that concerns the introduction of schemes within an infant. During the sensorimotor stage, a child understands the world through its senses and motor actions. In relation to the development of an infant from 6-12 weeks are Piaget's substages of extra circular reactions, and coordination of extra schemes.

Secondary round reactions, which can be noticeable around half a year are an babies repetitive actions focused around external things. Also, at this stage, babies may show some indications of imitation, and an understanding of object concept (understanding of the nature of objects and how they react) and object permanence (that things continue to exist when they are out of eyesight) (Boyd & Bee, 2009).

At around 8 a few months of age, a child extends to the fourth substage of Piaget's sensorimotor stage - the coordination of secondary schemes. In this stage, an infant begins showing a knowledge for causal links, which leads to means-end behaviour, 'purposeful behaviour carried out in search of a specific goal'. An infant can now combine plans, and can copy information from one sense to another (cross-modal conception).

Another cognitive theory is that of Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, which 'asserts that intricate kinds of thinking have their origins in social relationship rather than within an individuals private explorations' (book). Vygotsky thought a child's learning of new cognitive skills is guided by an adult (or a far more skilled child/sibling) through scaffolding - a set up learning experience which is most beneficial when designed to the child's area of proximal development (developmental level). Vygotsky also stresses the value of lively exploration, in particular, assisted finding.

Recommended Toys

Little Bird EXPLAINED Softly Snail Snuggle-time Play-mat and Gym

This colourful, multi-textural play-mat contributes to the secondary circular reaction level of Piaget's sensorimotor stage. The mat was created to develop fine motor unit skills by using its detachable rattle playthings and teething bands. Features such as its musical antennae and baby safe mirror are included to help develop sensory techniques. The cushion, which includes the play-mat, can help an infant to develop motor unit skills as possible used as a upper body support for tummy play, which can also encourage the development of gross motor unit skills such as rolling over, and crawling. This toy is also beneficial as it can assist newborns in the coordination of extra plans, for example, the means-end behavior of pressing the antennae to listen to some music. This toy is also perfect for a 6 month old infant to learn through aided discovery, as Vygotsky suggested.

VTech Singing Nursery Rhyme Book

This interactive publication, which is packed with rhymes and blinking signals, along with 'hide and seek' functional features, of different shades and textures, is well suited for an infant of 6 months or old. This book is designed to energize the senses and improve hands to eyes coordination. While it is an ideal toy to demonstrate Vygotsky's assisted discovery by using an adult, additionally it is a toy that will help with Piaget's secondary round reactions and the coordination of such secondary schemes, such as understanding subject permanence, and causal cable connections. This toy is also durable through further periods, as it is can help teach different language noises, and colors.

Fisher Price Rainforest Jumparoo

This toy includes a variety of colors, textures, does sound, and moving playthings. Not only will it encourage the development of fine electric motor skills through the use of toys, but it also encourages the introduction of gross motor unit skills such as standing, and turning. Jumping activities activate lights and does sound, which activate the infant's senses, and also cause the activity of the suspending toys which help with the development of Piaget's coordination of supplementary plans, e. g. intentional means-end behavior, and cross-modal perception. This toy is filled with features to assist in Vygotsky's assisted breakthrough, e. g. understanding cause and result and motivating hand-eye coordination.

Go Go Caterpillar

This small moving toy, suitable for 9 months plus, is colourful, and contains colourful and loud beads within its wheels. It encourages the development of gross engine skills as it pushes the infant to crawl or continue following the toy. The gadgets also has letters and numbers onto it, which through the help of Vygotsky's scaffolding, can lead to the training of different notice sounds. Also the easy procedure for pressing the toy to make it move promotes the development of Piaget's coordination of extra plans, such as learning cause and result through repetition, and producing cross-modal belief.

Little Superstar Sing Along Stage

This toy (suitable for 6 months and elderly) encourages singing, dancing, and discovery on a number of levels. It includes colourful features, which each make unique noises, including rattles and switches, and also has a lights screen. Additionally is a mike and devices which play tunes, and there's a built-in child friendly reflection. The toy generally motivates manifestation and movement, and is also ideal for assisted discovery, while the use of the equipment and mike encourage the introduction of fine engine skills such as hand-eye coordination, and the coordination of techniques such as means-end behaviour. The colours, signals, and mirror function as sensory stimulants, as the toy all together helps develop the coordination of strategies, and stimulates activity.


Overall, cognitive development within an infant is highly important. Piaget and Vygotsky both have cognitive ideas to describe development, and while they both have limits, they can both be employed to all or any of the five gadgets I've chosen as the best toys for physical and cognitive development of an infant, and in particular an infant between 6 and 12 months. For Piaget, the most crucial innovations between these calendar months are those extra circular techniques, and the coordination of these plans, including fine and gross engine skills, through assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration, while Vygotsky suggests that development occurs through sociable interactions guided through scaffolding, and aided discovery.

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