It’s been about 20 minutes of this. My 15-month-old son is absolutely
obsessed with the little hammer that came with one of his toys. He doesn’t quite get the fact that we hammer
the little wooden pegs into the little circles on the stand … but that’s OK. He is learning that when he hits this thing with the hammer, it makes a
noise. He’s also learning if he hits this thing, it moves. Not to mention the fact that when he hits this thing, it makes mommy go crazy.
Even though they just seem like toys, little workbenches
and peg toys teach your child valuable skills. Hammering takes a great deal of coordination and understanding. Ask anyone who is trying to hammer a nail
into a piece of wood without smacking his own thumb.
Hand-eye coordination is a visual-spatial skill that we all
need to function in our daily lives. We use this skill thousands of times a day when we push buttons,
maneuver objects, drive our cars, make our meals and so on. Hammering involves fine and gross motor skills
as your child moves her arms and grips with her fingers, but it involves visual-spatial processing functions as well, as she looks at an item and determines how far to
move the hammer to hit it.
Hammering also teaches cause and effect. If a child hits an item, then something
happens. It may make a noise, move an
object or break something. Cause-and-effect toys generally involve tapping, moving, flipping, dropping, rolling or
shaking to make a sound or effect happen. These toys are all great for learning cause and effect.
By eight months, most children can perform simple actions to
make things happen while noticing the relationship. For example, if I throw my toy to the ground, dad will pick it
up. By 18 months, children can combine
actions to cause a reaction or change. For
example, if I flip this switch, I can make a box open and then I can get the
toy animal inside. By 3 years of age, children
can predict what will happen—like what a book character would do next based an action
that happened in a story.
So … since my son is learning so much, I think I will put in my earplugs and let him continue
to hammer just a little bit more!