Children Play to Learn

avah-pans.jpegAlison Gopnik wrote an August 15 op-ed piece in The New York Times titled “Your Baby is Smarter than You Think.” Gopnik explains new research which found babies and young children learn quite differently than we once thought.

She says, “New studies, however, demonstrate that babies and very young children know, observe, explore, imagine and learn more than we would ever have thought possible. In some ways, they are smarter than adults.”

Avah is learning how kitchen things work.

“Babies are captivated by the most unexpected events. Adults, on the other hand, focus on the outcomes that are the most relevant to their goals. Children play with the objects that will teach them the most. (Italics mine) In our study, 4-year-olds imagined new possibilities based on just a little data. Adults rely more on what they already know. Babies aren’t trying to learn one particular skill or set of facts; instead, they are drawn to anything new, unexpected or informative.”

She continues, “Part of the explanation for these differing approaches can be found in the brain. The young brain is remarkably plastic and flexible. Brains work because neurons are connected to one another, allowing them to communicate. Baby brains have many more neural connections than adult brains. But they are much less efficient. Over time, we prune away the connections we don’t use, and the remaining ones become faster and more automatic. Moreover, the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls the directed, planned, focused kind of intelligence, is exceptionally late to mature, and may not take its final shape until our early 20s.”

Children play to learn, especially toddlers and preschool children. As adults, we tend to forget that playing for children is learning. We also forget that eating healthful foods is a learning process, one that we must teach. The new research on how children learn reinforces the steps to healthy eating explained in Baby BitesTM, “Through play, your little tyke rehearses all that’s experienced in her life. In fact, play is a child’s work. Therefore, it’s an important element in transforming your picky eater into a healthy eater. Through directed-play with Try RannosaurusTM and Betty Baby BitesTM, she’ll become accustomed to various textures, tastes, and smells. Your child will eagerly come to accept once-refused foods.”

When you and your picky eater include Try and Betty during mealtimes, they will give you multiple opportunities to positively reinforce healthy eating habits. Both characters are quick to encourage your picky eater. Betty has a very tiny voice. She often squeaks, encouraging words like “Bravo” and “Fantastico.” Try with his big bold voice says, “Green food is yummy” and “I’m so hungry I could eat a tree!”

Try and Betty will encourage your picky eater to appreciate once-refused foods, which have unique colors, textures, smells, and tastes. Each food is different and different is fun! For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

For info about the FREE Baby Bites Ezine,

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