Autism and Early Intervention

April 1, 2014

by Larry Mestyanek, Ph.D. – President, TAG Toys, Inc.

Early intervention with an autistic child has proven to be the most promising approach for stimulating normal development. Like all infants and toddlers the primary source for stimulating physical and mental development for an autistic child is through the basic senses of seeing, hearing, touching and movement. The stimulation of these senses is the basis for more advanced learning.

The human brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth. The human brain actually grows as a result of stimulation from the environment. The growth is not an increase in the number of brain cells or the size of the brain but in the formation of dendrites which are extensions from a brain cell that create connections between and among other brain cells. These connections are pathways whereby information is learned and stored in memory. With repeated stimulation these pathways solidify and strengthen. This is the basis of intelligence.

Every infant and in particular the autistic child who cannot yet speak, read or write depends on building sensory sub skills to allow for more complex learning. Developing these sub skills is accomplished first by sensory input from the environment followed by sensory output from the child. The next step is the manipulation of the environment through movement. There is no greater reward (positive reinforcement) for a child than to cause an effect in his or her world. This is why children grasp, push and pull, twist and turn, and mimic observed behavior.

We all have heard the real estate maxim – location, location, location. With learning the maxim is sub skills, sub skills, sub skills.

TAG Toys are specifically designed to target the development of sub skills basic for more advanced leaning. A child is born into a 3 dimensional world and must begin learning in the third dimension. This is why all of the TAG Toys are what we call “manipulatives”. Toys that are played with, handled, touched, moved, “manipulated” and in the process providing the stimulation that causes the brain cell extensions (dendrites) to grow and strengthen.

The products most successful with the autistic child in developmental order are:
 Spin-Around Glitter Drum
 Geo Form Boards
 First Blocks
 Giant Knob Shape Puzzle
 Amazing Tracker
 Maple Shape Sorter
 Shape Sorter with Mirror
 Hide and Seek Teddy Bear Puzzle
 Memory Circles
 Tumble Down Counting Pegs
 Motor Shapes Sequence Board
 Size and Shape Comparison Puzzle
 Watch Me Count! Number Puzzle
 I Can Spell! Alphabet Puzzle
 Lock Box Memory Game
 Locks and Latches Activity Board
 Hobby and Art Table

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly, family company that proudly hand crafts hundreds of educational toys in the USA, including toys that help children learn to spell and count. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

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Great Gifts for Nephews, Nieces and Kids of All Ages

December 18, 2012

We are asked, “I have no idea what to buy for my one year old nephew, can you please recommend a good, reasonably priced gift?”

The one-year old’s we know best tell us that the toys they like the most are the most simple, straightforward and brightly colored toys.  From simple building blocks, to basic animal shape puzzles and simple geometric shapes most one-year olds are quick to show appreciation for almost any colorful toy you decide to give them as a gift.

TAG Toys Geo Form Board

Geo Form Board from TAG Toys

A simple toy like the TAG Toys Geo Form Boards make a great stocking stuffer or a good basic gift for any one-year old boy or girl.  This toy helps very young kids develop physical motor skills and introduces the concept of matching and fitting shapes together.

Other simple puzzles like Animal Shape Puzzles or the TAG Toys First Building Blocks also make great gifts for one-year olds.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making wood Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas for Toddlers

December 17, 2012

A Reporter asks, “What do you have for last minute stocking stuffers for a two year old?”

We think puzzles are a great toy for any youngster and one of our favorite educational puzzles for two-year olds is our Giant Circle Puzzle. This 11-inch round puzzle has 8 jumbo interlocking pieces with eight bold colors. The big pieces are easy for youngsters to grasp and fit together, and the puzzle can provide an everyday activity for a child to work on independently or with the help of a parent.

TAG Toys Giant Circle Puzzle

Giant Circle Puzzle from TAG Toys

Working with puzzles, children develop fine motor coordination skills and learn how to tell apart shapes and sizes in the context of working towards a goal.  This stocking stuffer gift recommendation is available online from TAG Toys and overnight shipping options are available.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making high quality educational Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Puzzles Develop the Mind of Toddlers and Babies

December 16, 2012

We are asked, “What is the educational value of puzzles for toddlers and babies?

Puzzles are a very important part in the development of concepts, fine-motor skills and confidence for babies and toddlers.  From simply connecting colors that are alike, to fitting shapes together and to developing simple hand skills like grasping, holding and placing items together, puzzles are fantastic tools that help youngsters learn and develop a wide range of physical and mental skills.

Toddlers can start with basic puzzles, like horsesbutterflies and cat puzzles. As toddlers gain confidence they can be introduced to new, more complex puzzles which help keep them developing motor skills and mental growth.

TAG Toys Gears Puzzle

Gears Puzzle from TAG Toys

A natural progression for toddlers is to start with simple puzzles, and then move into size/shape comparison puzzles, and then to more creative types of puzzles like the TAG Toys Gears Puzzle. Puzzles are great for introducing more advanced concepts too, like numbers and letters. These types of puzzles often simply focus on introducing these characters to children, however more complex varieties also are designed to teach spelling and math.  Puzzles can also take the form of creative make-you-own puzzles which involve drawing and writing to help connect a child’s imagination and creativity to their puzzle-solving skills.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making wood Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Toys that Teach, Entertain and Give Kids Exercise

December 15, 2012

We are asked, “Are there any toys that can simultaneously help teach my kids and also give them physical exercise at the same time?”

Educational games that have physical components are well grounded in multi-sensory learning theory, which suggests that as more relevant dimensions (sight, hearing, tactile, physical involvement) are added to a learning experience the higher the retention of details and the understanding of the material will be.

When a learning experience can be brought to life with a game there is another dimension (fun) that is also introduced. Games like the Number Ring Toss from TAG Toys is an exciting activity that can help teach kids about basic numbers, and help them develop skills with numbers, counting and basic math.

TAG Toys Number Ring Toss

Number Ring Toss from TAG Toys

Ring toss number games are played by adding or subtracting numbers won by tossing the ring over different pegs, and activities like this are easy so everyone in the family can participate. Variations on the game like can be created that allow parents to introduce kids to different mathematical concepts like multiplication and division which can be introduced during ring-toss games as bonus rounds or penalty throws.

TAG Toys is an eco-friendly family-run business making educational Toys for children in the USA. If you are looking for a gifts for babies, toddlers or children TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Educational Toys that Teach Kids Numbers and Counting

December 14, 2012

We are asked, “What kind of toys do you have that teach children about counting?”

It is really never too early to start teaching children about numbers, counting and even simple math. From the earliest days, parents can make a routine out of counting just about anything from steps and stairs, to the number of grapes sitting in the high-chair tray, and of course fingers and toes. Numbers can be pointed out on clocks and when reading books together.

For toddlers numbers are often a centerpiece of the toys they play with too, and toys like Watch Me Count! Number Puzzle, the TAG Toys Numbers Template and Traceable Numbers all have numbers as the central component of the toy.

TAG Toys Tumble Count Pegs

Tumble Count Pegs from TAG Toys

For teaching children about counting (versus just learning to recognize the design of numerals), there are toys like the TAG Toys Tumble Down Counting Pegs. This basic counting skills toy is a multi-sensory tool that helps teach counting through a visual, tactile and auditory combination. This type of cognitive development technique is a well established learning method where more than one sense is stimulated to help create cross-brain fitness.

Youngsters playing with the tumble down toy read the numbers on the cards and count while inserting the pegs into the slots. When they pull the handle, the pegs come tumbling down and are provided with an immediate reward that helps reinforce the lesson of learning about numbers, quantity and counting.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making educational Toys in the USA. If you are looking for gifts for girls or boys TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


Fun Toys That Also Give Physical Exercise to Kids

December 13, 2012

We are asked, “I’d like to encourage my youngster to move around more without suggesting to them, that they need exercise. What kind of toys do you have that are fun and encourage physical activity?”

Kids who play with other kids tend to be more physically active than are children who do not have friends to play with. If other kids aren’t around, parents should take the lead, and encourage simple activities like dancing, ask for a game of freeze tag in the yard, or take the family to the park to play on the swings or climb a tree. There are hundreds of ways to families, parents and kids to have fun that involve physical activity at the same time.

TAG Toys Easy Stand Dominos Set of 50

Set of 50 Easy Stand Dominos from TAG Toys

As a last resort, where no other kids are around and parents are dragged in different directions by travel or work, there are toys available that children can play with, which encourage physical movement, even if the child is alone during the playtime. Toys like the Stand Up Domino Collection from TAG Toys, encourages walking around, bending over and crawling between domino’s while setting them up for the eventual cascading knock over.

Other toys like TAG Toys Hollow Blocks and Ring Toss Games (Number Ring Toss and Word Ring Toss) also encourage physical activity. These games are entertaining for kids who are all alone, and even more fun when played with friends and family members.

TAG Toys is an environmentally friendly family-run business making wood Toys in the USA. If you are looking for a gift for a girl or a boy TAG Toys has great toys for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Birthdays. Please visit www.TAGToys.com

Ask a question to TAG Toys on Facebook.


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