Your Kids Don’t Need Electronic Learning Toys

We’ve all seen the advertisements for toys, videos, even teaching programs for babies promising to give your child an academic edge. Maybe we’ve been swayed to purchase those toys that teach colors, counting, and ABC’s in English and Spanish. Maybe we’ve been consumed with guilt because we didn’t give our children these toys, and we’ll always wonder if we are the reason they might turn out to be something other than rocket scientists and neurosurgeons.

Is there anything wrong with these toys? No, nothing at all. They are often cheerful, colorful, and include a catchy tune your toddler or preschooler will enjoy. And they do, in fact, give kids early exposure to those basic academic skills. The lights and sounds are delightful rewards for your little one who is exploring the buttons, dials, and sliding levers. All that exploring improves their eye hand coordination and hand strength, a.k.a. “fine motor skills.”

So what’s the problem? Well, frankly, the problem is parents expect the fancy “teaching toys” to live up to the hype, and give something back for all the dollars paid to obtain this toy or gadget. After all, don’t the toy companies know what they are doing? Doesn’t the app teach a very obvious skill, like matching? It sets parents’ mind at ease, and they may feel the kids are getting a superior education. Some may feel the toys are better teachers than moms and dads. Some may feel that adding extra “teaching time” with the child would be unnecessary. This is a very dangerous way of thinking.

We have to ask ourselves to think – how do kids learn? Toddlers and preschoolers aren’t ready for lectures and power point presentations any more than they are ready for these kinds of “lessons” the so called learning toys are trying to provide. This may seem like comparing apples to oranges – lectures are obviously for teen and up, but those learning toys are fun and kid friendly, right? Wrong. How could they be likened to a lecture? Because of one key ingredient that is missing in both instances, the very thing that makes it inappropriate for a child – it isn’t attached to a meaningful personal experience or social interaction.

Lectures are one sided. A speaker presents information, the listener soaks it in. Sometimes the audience is invited to participate somehow, but it is usually limited. The learning toys are only slightly better. They make their noises, and some of them try to get the child to press a button to respond. The child is cheered for or asked to try again depending on how they respond. Does this count as a meaningful personal experience or social interaction? No, not at all. The child simply listening to a computer. They are not holding and working with real objects. No one they care about is sitting with them to provide the encouragement or praise. Instead they hear a computer voice that is empty and repetitive. Sometimes the machine responds inaccurately, like when the child sits on the toy and the toy cheers for the child who accidentally sat on the button that was the correct the response. Like a lecture, these toys are impersonal, use representation instead of real objects, and may even give inaccurate feedback.

Do you still think those learning toys are superior?

Let’s take a look at naturally occurring learning now. You can call it the unplugged version. Junior is in the sandbox with Grandma sitting nearby. His fingers are covered in sand, providing delightful sensory input. (If you aren’t familiar with “sensory input” just think of all the stuff kids like to touch because it is so varied – sand, paint, jell-o, beans, rice, water). Whenever you add sensory input, you are activating more parts of the brain, which aids in memory and learning in general. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the light breeze is blowing, all the more sensory input that makes outside so much fun for kids. Junior is busy pouring and scooping sand. He plays pretend with a dump truck and uses it to transport sand to the “construction site.” Grandma and Junior chat while he plays, and she gives him words to learn like empty, full, big, little, wet, dry. Junior is in charge of the play scenario. He fills up that dump truck himself. He chooses how and when and where to dump it. Grandma smiles and encourages him. She challenges to make “a great big pile” of sand and applauds when he does. Junior beams with pride.

What just happened out there in the sandbox? Meaning happened. That sand was in Junior’s little hands, not pixels on a screen. He scooped by using his little hands and muscles, not with a stylus tapping on a screen. He learned about physics out there, as he learned how hard to push the truck to make it go through the sand, how much pressure he needed to lift up the dump truck, what happened to the sand when the bucket was already full, how far water splashes when he dumped it all at once. He was encouraged to keep going when the bucket wasn’t full yet and Grandma helped him understand that full meant up to the top. He accomplished an actual physical task that he could see, touch, and be proud of. He got lost in the joy of make-believe play, which is critical for child development. Grandma’s praise was genuine and accurate, and he loves that lady to pieces so he didn’t give up until he got it right.

So now we have seen how a real task, like sandbox digging or block tower building, with real people, is obviously better than tasks on a computer screen. But what about the ABC’s, you ask? What about the counting in English and in Spanish? Times have changed drastically, and the pressure is really on once kids get to kindergarten. You want your future neurosurgeon to be ready!

OK, here’s the truth. You can teach a toddler letters. You can teach shapes as complicated as “cylinder” to a two year old and she will be able to name it when she sees it a few weeks later. You will beam with pride. She can learn to count to ten, too. The question here is, should you?

It comes back to meaning. A child can count to ten, but does she understand what the numbers mean? Does she know that 8 is twice as many as 4? That 4 is one less than 5? That there are five cookies on the plate but when she eats one, that there are now four cookies? And what earthly purpose does a toddler have for adding the word “cylinder” to her vocabulary? She can learn letters, but she won’t learn to read any faster. And without regular re-teaching, your child will quickly forget these things – for the simple fact that they don’t hold any meaning for her. Our memories work by sorting and associating concepts with familiar things or in a way that makes sense. And all that academic mumbo-jumbo you gave her doesn’t have a “storage drawer” inside that developing little mind. She hasn’t got any place to store it that makes sense, so it fades quickly. So if it isn’t going to stick, why waste her time with it? Why not go outside and play in the sandbox? We know the lessons learned out there are going to last.

As your child approaches kindergarten, you will want to ensure he is “ready.” Today’s standards mean he should know a great many things, including letters and how to hold a crayon, his full name, and how to hop and skip. But starting to teach academics in baby and toddler years is not necessary. In fact, it may rob children of the time they could have spent filling and dumping a bucket of sand.

Still not convinced? Consider the child’s growing mind. At one year of age, your child still thought he was an extension of you, and that he could control you. He cried, you fed him. He was bored, you played with him. You left him, he howled until you returned. He tantrums because he can’t control you any more. And he is mystified! He can’t sort it out. Now fast forward to age 2. He’s still tantrumming regularly. He cries because his meatballs are “all gone” even though you look in his bowl and see meatballs still there. Was that even the issue? Nobody knows! Now I ask you, is he ready to learn the complicated sound/symbol relationship of letters and begin to read? Is he ready to count in Spanish? Probably not. Research suggests kids aren’t ready to recognize and remember letters until… ready for this?… age five. That is shocking considering today’s grueling pace. There is also some evidence that early exposure to letters and learning to read doesn’t matter at all. A child can learn to read, and learn in a matter of months, if you wait until the child is developmentally ready to do so. That’s around age seven. Of course, in America we don’t wait until a child is seven to get started, the point of this is remind us that child development happens in a predictable, linear fashion. It can’t be rushed. Development happens on child’s schedule, not due to parental diligence with flashcards and learning videos. However, your child still has loads of things to learn. He is ready to play with you, listen and learn from a real person who loves and cares for him. He wants to please you, and wants to interact with you.

You don’t have to “try” to teach a young child. Simply interact with him, talk with him, and ask him questions. Let him try things on his own and help him be successful. Learning happens in play, not on a screen or with a computerized toy. You can play pretend, build, paint, dig, hop and run, and even sort and categorize familiar objects like food in a toy kitchen. You can bake cakes and wash the bowls afterward. You can play catch and make up a simple game. You are all your child needs. Computerized toys can never replace the invaluable learning that happens when you simply play with your child. Choose toys that allow for problem solving, building, pretend play, or dress-up outfits. Don’t forget about things like blocks, balls, and books. These classics never fail to entertain and to teach, too. Best of all, it is easy to join in and play with your child!

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Case Study: My Experience With Businesses

Finding the Best Cellphone Store We can really observe around us that a lot of people have already their own mobile phones due to its great contribution to our daily lives and that they can attest that going to those establishments which focused in reserving it is highly important. There is no doubt about this claim as we can really see how true it is based on our observations to those people who have their own mobile phones. That is why, we can really see a lot of people who would always flock to cellphone shops because they know that it is the only place which can cater for their needs when it comes to their gadgets. The rest of this reading material will be focusing in discussing about the advantages that you will surely get if you have decided to visit a mobile phone stores due to the positive effects of their products as well as their services. So, if you are interested in knowing further, it would be very nice if you are going to continue reading this so that you will be able to have an idea what are those benefits is which we are talking about. The succeeding sentences will be proceeding in discussing about the benefits that we are talking here so that you will further your understanding about this matter. Before we talk about the advantages that we are referring lately, it would be wise if we will be establishing the point that going to those said establishments will surely provide you every need that you will when it comes to your own phone. First and foremost, it would be very nice if you are going to be informed about the fact that you will never be pressurized to purchase the products they sell due to its affordability. There is no doubt about this for the reason that a lot of people would surely agree to it due to their past experience sin purchasing those products. And the second benefit that is essential to be talk about is the way you are going to be able to enjoy using the products they sell as they make sure of its quality. A lot of people would really agree to this most especially those who have already bought some phones in those stores for their own use. With that being said, there are no reasons why you should not consider in going to cellphone shops due to the benefits that they provide as most people would say.

The Essentials of Businesses – The Basics

The Art of Mastering Options

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5 Steps to Successful Sales Closure

So you have done your homework in a manner similar to my article on “5 Categories to Dynamic Meetings” and have secured a date, time and place for the visit. The next level is to implement your strategy and in doing so, here are 5 steps that could be useful to keep in mind.

1. Introductory
If your company, product, service or technology is not familiar to the customer, this of course would be your first step. Have some handout literature or let the customer know he can find more information on your website. These meetings can be a little tense with anticipation and is where you, as the leader of the meeting, need to be aware of your body language (here I am assuming this meeting is done in person, but if done via Skype, satellite, phone, etc. we’ll have more to say on this in a future article) as noted in my post “3 Types of Speakers”. I chaired an Introductory to Bid meeting a few years ago… the room was packed between customer and my client. We started with introductions and went around the room, ending with me. I gave my brief bio and noted that the customer was actually my client’s number one customer, but their number two customer was closing in rapidly. We did not want them to lose their number one position so needed to secure this large order quickly. Everyone laughed as I purposely kept a relaxed posture, friendly face and everyone sensed it was meant in good jest. The meeting went very well and the client did eventually win a very competitive bid that went over $50M USD. So with this kind of money at stake, you can imagine the tension in the room at the start of the meeting – stay focused on your plan developed earlier and stay relaxed!

2. Educational (discuss a new service/product/technology)
This is often combined with #1 above but not always. Here you want to present a new service, product or technology you have available the customer might want to consider. Or, just the opposite, you are there to solicit the customer’s needs so that you can develop the product for his future needs. This latter would be what is called a “roadmap” and to be discussed in a later article. When the meeting wraps, be sure to review the action items and timeframe for closure.

3. Negotiation
There are many ways of structuring deals which could involve paying for a service or product; could be a trade of services or products; could be purchasing higher quantities up front to drive costs down; all these and many more are viable means available in a negotiation. Again, knowing the customer you can anticipate what might be discussed and decide how to handle the situation – or lead the conversation to a route that is attractive to you after showing the pitfalls in other approaches leaving the only interesting solution is the one you present. This is an interesting and complex “game” if you will. Stay relaxed and think on your feet. But ALWAYS leave the meeting with an action plan.

4. Follow-up
Once the hard work of getting through the negotiation is completed, be sure to thank the customer via email (typically) and committing once again to respond to any actions you agree to. Make sure you take this step in the timeframe agreed to at the meeting and if you are going to be late, provide a new date and not leave it open-ended.

5. Stay close to the customer
This is so very important in business development. Be sure to remain in contact with the customer (even if you do not win, develop an image that you are very interested for future opportunities) through on-site visits, telephone, email, etc. Continue to build your strong image at the customer and reputation within the industry. This develops confidence and confidence leads to sales.

The magic formula to getting the sale is:
Need for your product/service + Credibility + Presentation = The Sale.

If there is anything I could do for you, please let me know. For further information please visit my website at http://www.DynamicPresentationSkills.com.

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The Path To Finding Better Music

Buying Audio Equipment: Important Considerations When it comes to one of the greatest creation that man had ever created is with music. There are different kinds of music that not only man can create, but likewise the environment all around us, like the swaying of trees and plants, birds singing, the wind, rainfall and a whole lots more that creates sound. One reasons why people tend to love music is because of the fact that it gives a feeling that’s soothing. Due to modernization, creating music has greatly improved with the use of audio equipment’s. When you actually listen to music, your mind is actually strongly influenced with it. Some people tend to feel happier, especially when they are listening to their favorite songs. You need to be aware of the fact also that there are different moods when it comes to the songs. If you wanted to enhance more your music, then you should consider the importance of selecting the appropriate type of audio equipment to help acquire the improvement. This equipment type can be bought in markets today and you have lots of available options when it comes to the types present. When you are actually listening to music, you will surely enjoy a lot your leisure hours. This is in fact the best option present when you are alone spending the weekend. You can in fact get an enhanced fun and excitement when you consider buying the best and appropriate audio equipment. You can even do your selection with the one that you personally desire. When you have an event coming up, you can also hire audio equipment’s. All you need to do would be to find an audio equipment firm and request for an audio equipment that will be used depending on your event.
Where To Start with Music and More
When you are in the process of selecting which equipment is suitable and best to use, it can be quite confusing. In the case where you have been able to determine the type of equipment to use, you must then consider selecting the one that is advanced and new today in the market. You could also do your selection and purchase through online stores. Make sure that you conduct proper research first before doing any purchases. Part of your research should be with the process of reading testimonials and reviews. This can in fact help you to greatly learn a lot about the certain product or item.
The 4 Most Unanswered Questions about Music
If you really wanted to get your investments worth it, make sure that you consider researching it well first and likewise ask for the recommendations from your friends and family about it. You will not have to worry when you wanted to make your investment worth it from it because all you need to do is consider proper research and determine what you really need.

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