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Influence of Toys and Education on Cognitive Development

Describe the impact that the choice of toys and education concerns have on the COGNITIVE development during the middle childhood, late childhood, and adolescence stages.

Also, please analyze how the occurrence of these issues might influence an individual's future development and use developmental theories and research to support with 3-4 references.

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I. Introduction
II. Empirical Support
II. Theoretical Support
A. Stages of Cognitive Development
B. Appropriate Toys and Education
IV. Conclusion (sum up main points)

Now let's look at some infromation to consider for each section.

Cognitive Development:

"I have always treated and considered puzzles from an educational standpoint, for the reason that they constitute a species of mental gymnastics which sharpen the wits and train the mind to reason along straight lines. Puzzles are a school for cleverness and ingenuity".-Sam Lloyd (1841-1911)

Research and theory support the idea that the choices of toys that are educational are important to intellectual and cognitive development of a child and adolescent. Studies have confirmed that the interaction with stimulating learning games along with objects to explore increases the number of branches on the nerve cells in the brain and can promote better learning. However, cognitive development looks different at each stage of development. Good toys are good teachers. Therefore, these choices impact cognitive development either negatively or positively. In fact, research suggests that the relationship formed with the toy is what makes it educational. Good toys are appealing and interesting, suited to a child and adolscent's physical and mental abilities and social development (Toys Are Great Teachers, see article available on-line at http://math-and-reading-help-for-kids.org/articles/Toys_are_great_teachers.html).

Toys and educational games which are age appropriate have a positive effect of development at all levels of cognitive development, including middle and late childhood and adolescents. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the age designation on most toys and game boards (for ages 6-8 years) and especially important not to exceed the level of development to any large extend, as this frustrates a child and can have negative impact of the child's self-worth and esteem ("I am stupid?'I can't do nothing right?. These negative cognitive schemas can impact a child's evaluation of learning in general ("learning is scary? and a child's learning ability ("I can't do it, so I am not going to play this game?. Conversely, games and educational activities that are age-appropriate can have the exact opposite effect. Good toys don't have to be expensive. (http://www.pressmediawire.com/article.cfm?articleID=5486).

For example, Neuroscientist Adele Diamond and psychologist Deborah Leong have good news: The best kind of play costs nothing and really only has one main requirement ?imagination. When children learn to rely on themselves for playtime ?improvising props, making up games and stories ?they're actually developing critical cognitive skills, including an important one called "executive function," they say. Essentially, executive function is the ability to regulate one's own behavior ?a key skill for controlling emotions, resisting impulses and exerting self control and discipline (Valentine, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514).

Empirical evidence supporting the positive effects of toys on cognitive development:

?A team led by Torkel Klingberg at the Karolinska Institute, part of the Stockholm Brain Institute, has found signs that the neural systems that underlie working memory (a cognitive function related to general intelligence) may grow in response to training (1).

?Regarding the neural basis for development and plasticity of cognitive functions during childhood, in particular the development of attention and working memory, this information shows that correct training and educational exposure can yield sustained attention, better impulse control and improved learning ability, as well as correct critical learning deficits. (2)

?Historically, a person's IQ - a measure of all kinds of mental problem-solving abilities, including spatial skills, memory and verbal reasoning - was thought to be fixed by nature - locked into a person's genes. However, Dr. Beth Lucy Wellman (1895-1952), a professor of child psychology at the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station was instrumental in advancing her findings that a child's IQ and scholastic performance depend on the quality of ...

Solution Summary

Describes the impact that the choice of toys and education concerns have on the COGNITIVE development during the middle childhood, late childhood, and adolescence stages. It also analyzes how the occurrence of these issues might influence an individual's future development. Supported by developmental theories and research.