If you haven’t heard, I’m designing kitchen appliances for parents to use with their young (toddler age; think 2 yrs old) children. It just so happens that cooking with your kids is very beneficial, and very popular. It teaches kids about math, cause/effect, and nutrition, and it can be a good way for kids to “get their hands dirty” and play around. Not to mention it can be a good parent/child bonding activity.
So… transitioning into the world of psychology. Have you ever heard of a Myelin Sheath? It’s a layer of fatty proteins that coats the axons of brain cells. Basically, this layer serves to increase the speed of brain functions. The layer makes it easier for electrical impulses to travel along brain cells.
This applies to my project, because toddlers and below are at the age where this myelin is produced (a process called “myelination.”) I actually have to check the specific age range that this occurs in my Dev. Psychology book.
The point is, experiencing new things is key for myelniatin. Small children are natural explorerers, and every time they experience something new, it speeds up the myelination process. Similarly, every time they have an “AHA!” moment, their synapses and brain capabilities increase. So you can see that there is some solid stuff backing the idea of the child as an explorer.
Anyway, its been a long time since I was a toddler. So to get to know what they like in their toys, I asked their parents. They replied:
· Moving things
· Any opportunity for exploration
· Tactile information.
You can see the pattern here. Exploration overall is highly enjoyed, and all 5 senses are open for investigation (although taste seems to be discouraged…)
so. that’s something to think about. The way brains work. interesting stuff.