In addition to my regular posts, I am going to begin a new feature. I am going to review toys for babies and children which will help them improve their skills. Some toys are better than others, even when they seem to be similar.
My reviews will tell you why I like a particular toy, and how it will directly impact your baby or child’s skills.
Today I am going to talk about one of my favorite toys for toddlers (ages 2 – 4): Fantacolor Junior. I used this regularly with my clients, and bought this for my son when he was two. I like this toy for a lot of reasons. It is great for helping with hand-eye coordination, visual perceptual skills, motor planning, grasp, and pre-writing skills. It can also help with spatial relationship development. The set comes with 48 chunky pegs, 16 design cards, transparent pegboard and storage tray. This toy has small parts, so children under the age of 3 need close supervision.
How the toy “works” is that your child selects a picture card and inserts it behind the clear pegboard. The pegboard tilts up. This is beneficial because the child needs to extend her wrist to push in the peg. This helps strengthen the wrist. The pegs are large enough for very young hands, but require some effort to push into the peg hole. Again, this helps improve strength by providing resistance for the fingers. Visual skill development happens when the child matches the peg color to the corresponding color on the design card. It also helps with improving matching and sorting skills. Hand-eye coordination is required in order to bring the peg from the case to the pegboard and place it in the correct position. Each picture card has colored circles which indicate where the same colored peg should be placed. Motor planning is required for the child to figure out how to get the peg from the case to the correct peg board hole.
This toy utilizes many skills which will help your child build their fine motor skill repertoire.
The skills for pre-writing tasks such as coloring require good wrist extension and good grasp. Fine motor tasks require good motor planning, pincer grasp and hand eye coordination. Visual and spatial skill development will help ready your child for reading and writing. No one gives much thought to how many skills are necessary to perform any given task.
When you take the time to break down and analyze the components, you start to understand how important it is to address skill development with the optimal tools. In my opinion, Fantacolor Junior is one of those tools.
This toy can be found in my store under Fine Motor.