Activity cubes are the toy of choice in most waiting rooms, and it seems with good reason. They are contained, in that they don’t generally have too many loose parts to get lost, kids love them and they are engaging, fun and great for development all at the same time.
So should you be buying one for your home and why exactly are they just great developmental toys for babies and toddlers?
Activity Toys and Development
Babies play by manipulating the objects they have to hand, that could be their hand, a blanket, a rattle, a wooden spoon or in this case an activity cube. By doing this they are learning all about the world around them, how it works, what it looks like, what it sounds like and how they have an effect on their surroundings.
Activity cubes, and activity toys in general, are great as they usually contain lots of different elements that can be manipulated in lots of different ways. Some may require precise action and good fine motor skills, while others will just make a great noise when you hit them.
By figuring out which shape goes into which hole babies and toddlers are learning so many things, they are learning to recognise shapes, they are developing their problem-solving skills, they are learning how to use their grip and the muscles in their hands and arms to manipulate objects, they are discovering concepts like in and out, and they are gaining a sense of confidence and accomplishment.
By moving beads around a maze children are developing fine motor skills, logic and problem-solving ability. They discover how things fall when they lift them up and how while they can create a movement around the maze they can’t take things out. They learn spatial awareness and gain an understanding of object permanence.
All this may seem simplistic but these actions are building vital pathways in the brain that will be used time and time again for years to come. These are the building blocks of learning and so important to foster and encourage at a young age.
Many activity cubes also feature lots of different colours, letters, numbers and animals which all offer both fun and learning opportunities.
Young children learn the names of animals and the noises they make by seeing them and hearing the noises. Usually, you make them, to begin with. And the same goes for counting and letters. If you count the beads as they move them, or the stairs as you climb them, children learn numbers and counting.