Today’s guest blog posts deals with helping your little ones develop their first life experiments. This post is filled with all sorts of tips which you can incorporate when creating your TinyTap games. The important thing to remember is that while it may appear that your little one is simply playing with a tablet or iPhone, you’ll soon see that they’re actually on the verge of an important scientific breakthrough.
One of my favorite things to do lately is to watch my son play and discover the world. What has become obvious and ordinary for us grownups, is new and innovative for a toddler. S/he explores the world, the cause and effect phenomena and uses his/her newly acquired skills to test every new item s/he comes across.
When a toddler throws a plate full of food on the ground, s/he is actually experimenting to see what will happen once the plate falls on the ground. Our reaction to this occurrence plays a large role in our little scientist’s experiment. Toddlers learn from cause and effect as a simple logic condition – if a then b. They come to expect the connection between an action like shaking a rattle and the sound it makes.
Little scientists in a touchscreen age
When a toddler is exposed to touchscreen technology s/he experiences a similar cause-effect learning environment that s/he would encounter when shaking a rattle or throwing a plate of food. By engaging in all these activities a child is testing the simple law that every action has a reaction.
Games/ apps for kids provide a colorful world for them to play and learn specific skills. When a child masters skills while playing a game or playing an app, the child often gains more confidence than from other activities. This is because with games and apps feedback is immediate and often designed to reinforce success.
If Toddlers are little scientists – What are we here for?
Think of yourself as your toddler’s guide teaching him/her to be an independent and curious observer who loves to learn and explore. You provide a lot of opportunities for your toddler to experiment with new concepts and ideas that s/he is learning. You can choose from a variety of activities designed for toddlers to help them develop a specific skill set. A few examples:
* Each little scientist is special
Like all adults, all toddlers are different and have individual interests (which vary throughout their childhood). Observe and learn what your toddler’s exploring preferences are and allow him/her to explore them as often as possible.
If s/he prefers to experiment with her hands, provide a variety of objects that she can open and close, take apart or transport using building blocks, cars and wheels or even old purses with different locks (make sure they’re child safe first). If your toddler loves to watch the natural physical world – you can take him/her outside, and show her flowers and leaves. This is a great way to expose your little one to different textures, colors and smells.
Once you know what your toddler’s favorite objects or games are, you will become the best person to design customized games for him/her.
* Make some order in this chaotic world
One of the most important abilities a toddler develops in his/her first few years is the ability to sort similar objects into groups. This skill is acquired naturally earlier than you realize. For example when my son started to point at every cat in the street and call it “Tai” (that’s our cat’s name), he was actually using the word “Tai” as a synonym for
cat. As a result, all the cats he saw were immediately categorized by him as “Tai”.
In order to help your child in acquiring this skill, show him/her how s/he can sort his/her toys or various objects by shape, size or color. A variety of games can provide excellent exercise for acquiring this categorizing skill.
* Memory is learning’s best friend
Your toddler’s memory grows and improves when she recognizes familiar people, objects and situations. The most important thing needed to develop this is repetition. Once your toddler encounters the same situations over and over again, s/he knows what to expect and remembers the sequence of events.
For toddlers and babies a predictable world is a safe and easy world to understand. When you introduce new and unpredictable situations to your toddler, s/he will be fascinated by them and will expand her knowledge.
This skill is developed and naturally and be enhanced using various activities. For example, even when you read a book to your toddler or play a game, and point out the same
objects/characters, you will notice how fast she remembers those items when you ask her about them each time.
However you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day, you want TinyTap to be there. With TinyTap you can capture those fleeting moments forever. You could choose to create a unique, playable present for mom or even turn your special day into an interactive photo album.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of game ideas just for Mother’s Day. With these ideas you can make your Mother’s Day a day the entire family can actively take part in. And, of course, since it’s TinyTap you can even choose to make your Mother’s Day game educational.
Don’t forget to share your Mother’s Day with us and have a lovely Mother’s Day!
Mother’s Day game ideas
1. A day with mom
2. Playable family album
3. Why my mom is the best
4. Spot the family member
5. Family tree
6. Baking with mom
7. Why I love you mom
8. My earliest memory of mom and I
9. Here’s my gift to you mom
10. My favorite memory of mom is
If you haven’t done so already, you really should give our Social Market a try. Not only do you get your own profile and the ability to backup all your games but you can also discover other great content created by members of the community.
Each week we’ll be highlighting what we feel are the best games.
Take a look at this week’s game of the week.
This week’s game of the week
In this beautifully designed game, created by a member of the TinyTap community, you’ll get to meet the Snow Pets. This is a fun, interactive and stimulating game which will get your little one to practice their listening skills. Give it a try here.
TinyTap games are designed to provide your children with positive feedback which nourishes their sense of accomplishment and makes them feel successful.
All TinyTap games are full of both verbal and visual feedback that act as positive reinforcement for your child’s learning. By creating your own games with TinyTap’s platform, you create personalized games that are individually developed by you to fit your child’s needs.
In this guest blog post you will learn more about positive reinforcement and its importance for learning and acquiring life skills.
A while ago my 10 month old son was playing with his toy pyramid, trying to stack colored rings over a plastic post. When he failed, he felt frustrated and wanted to quit. I decided to help him, and show him that with a little bit of practice he can succeed.
After guiding him by holding his hand, he quickly learnt how it’s done. But only when he succeeded and I clapped my hands saying “Well done” – only then he wanted to repeat his newly acquired skill!
From that moment on, he couldn’t stop stacking the rings and looking at me waiting for my positive reinforcement – making him feel that his success is really appreciated and encouraged.
What are positive reinforcements?
Positive reinforcements are items, social recognition or activities that motivate a child to repeat a behavior in the future. Positive reinforcements are things like rewards, or things we will generally work to get. Parents and educators use positive reinforcement to modify children’s behavior and provide positive feedback for achievements.
How positive reinforcements turn playing into learning?
When a child plays a game or does any other activity for that matter, she uses her ability to learn how to do something in a way that results in a successful or a non-successful outcome. This cause and effect relationship is the basis for most human interactions.
Once a child is being ‘rewarded’ by positive reinforcement in a form of positive feedback, her mind forms a connection between her behavior and the positive reinforcement. This scenario encourages the child to repeat her behavior, and seek different ways to receive this positive feedback again.
The most effective positive reinforcements in games are immediate verbal or visual feedback. Once a child succeeds at any kind of task, for example – following a question – “where is the baby’s nose?” she points at the nose, and immediately receives a visual or verbal feedback like “That’s correct!” or “well done”! She enjoys the feeling of accomplishment and learns that when
she answers correctly she is being rewarded by kind words.
When a child experiences failure and she receives comforting feedback such as “try again” or “you’ll do better next time”, this encourages her to try again and teaches her to learn from her mistakes and that making mistakes is a part of learning.
What positive feedback should we give our kids?
Here are some ideas for giving your child the best possible positive feedback:
1. Introduce a game for your child’s developmental stage
Let her play independently but stay close to watch her play. You can learn by watching how she reacts to success and how she reacts to failure. Often the frustration that is caused by failure can be easily reduced. If you see that your child is getting frustrated by a challenging task, you can help her with this task a few times. Remember to always provide postive reinforcment in the form of words of encouragment.
Even if she doesn’t succeed, try to let her know that it is perfectly normal to fail and boost confidence back by showing or reminding her how great she is in performing other tasks. Your reaction to your child’s behavior, is often more important than the experience itself.
2. Choose a game that you can play together
When you play with your child, observe how she interacts with you and with the game and add immediate positive feedback when needed.
The dynamics between you and the game can teach her a lot about your perspective and about a healthy approach to wining and loosing. You presence allows you to help her expend her knowledge and ignites her curiosity by mediating the objects and actions in the game with enthusiasm and making them simple and accessible. You can make your child feel confident, happy and positive with a sense that she can face any challenge.
3. Apply it to your everyday life
Desirable behavior that is immediately rewarded by your kind words, will probably repeat itself. This derives from our natural drive to please those we love.
Even if it seems that when children play games, they are disconnected from their surroundings, remember that they are in fact learning from every new experience and their brain develops rapidly forming new connections that are there to stay.
Our job as parents and educators is to use positive feedback to nourish their sense of accomplishment, help them learn new skills and to teach them to explore the world and learn from everything around them.