In an effort to continually support its partners and clients, BB Education takes a step further by proposing a function-based classification for each of its products. Whether you are a parent or a teaching specialist, our objective is to align the expertise of our specialists with your unrelenting efforts to provide an ideal learning environment for children. We all know that the spheres of development are interrelated. Our classification categorizes products into fifteen skills in all areas of a child’s development. It is meant as a guide to help you browse our site according to your objectives, and to create a more intuitive experience. After all, for over 75 years, BB Education has been getting together with you and your children to learn, play, create!
Toddlers gradually awaken to their environment thanks to their five senses. Until two years of age, children learn not only through their senses, but also with their whole body. Therefore, they can be stimulated with sound-emitting toys with different colours and textures that they can manipulate, shake, bring to their mouth in order to explore repeatedly and as they please. In fact, babies and toddlers gradually understand phenomena through repetition and observation. It is important to support the sensory development of older children as well. After all, regardless of age, playing is synonymous with listening, touching, tasting, looking, smelling, and so on.
Gross motor skills
Gross motor skills consist of balance, coordination, laterality, energy, tonicity, strength, endurance, etc. The skills allow the child to control body movements and maintain different positions. Motor skills, like any other skill, are acquired through practice, and repetition allows for improvement and precision. Gross motor games and activities enable spatial orientation and encourage younger and older children to expend their energy in a beneficial way. One activity can be modified to relate to children of all ages who are at different stages of development.
Fine motor skills
By repeatedly manipulating pieces and fitting them together, children improve their dexterity, which prepares them to execute more accurate movements. Dexterity can be developed through a wide range of activities. By threading, drawing, cutting up and manipulating various types of modelling clay, children gradually acquire the skills needed to perform day-to-day tasks such as buttoning a button, tying a shoelace and using a zipper, and they prepare the child to learn to read. The more preschoolers participate in these types of activities, the easier it gets to draw letters.
Sensory, short-term and long-term… The many forms of memory all work together. Sensory memory retains the information retrieved by the senses for a brief moment, enough to store it in short-term memory. Short-term memory recall lasts only a few seconds, but it makes it possible to process and retain information before it is transferred to long-term memory, which stores meaningful events, the meaning of words, manual tasks, etc. for days, months, years, even a lifetime! If you want to connect playing with memory development, remember this: observation is important in memory development, so it is important to limit the amount of information a child must retain at any given time; making connections between a game the child is playing and past experiences (a visit to the farm, a celebration, a book they have read, for example) helps increase long-term memory retention and can enhance the value of an activity.
Concentration is the ability to focus one’s attention on a single topic. Whether one is working, reading or playing, the process is always the same and it is a crucial part of learning. However, the ability to concentrate varies according to age and neurological development. Playing and concentration are natural allies. Anyone who has watched a child play can testify to this. There are many ways to improve concentration. The first thing to do is offer the child the right environment with limited noise and adequate material, as well as a timeframe and a challenge according to their abilities. Suggesting strategies can help, for example, encourage the child to trace a path with their finger, close their eyes to listen to sounds, and remind them of the basics of the task. Asking a child how they went about accomplishing the task can help them use the same strategies in other situations.
Each day we ask children to use their observation skills in a variety of activities. It is important to note that observation does not work independently: it always demands concentration, which allows the child to pay attention long enough to retain information and store it in memory. How do you enhance a child’s observation skills? First and foremost, it is important to make sure that the game and challenge selected are adapted to the child’s level of development. Also, the environment must be conducive to observation: it is crucial to limit sources of distraction and to make sure the child is comfortable. Guiding the child by asking questions can also prove effective. When we think about improving a child’s capacity for observation, we immediately think of memory and sorting games, sequence sets and all types of puzzle games. These tools all work very well, but remember that children can use all of their five senses to hone their observations skills. There is a wide range of materials and activities that help children to listen, touch, taste, look, smell, etc.
Emotional development involves a child’s need to feel safe. Why is this important? The sense of security helps the child to develop self-confidence and self-esteem (which lead to the autonomy and sense of curiosity required to explore their environment), and to develop their potential, including on a social level. There are many games that contribute to a child’s emotional development. Symbolic play, for example, integrates events or characters (real or imaginary) to a child’s leisure activities. In situations when contact with others can make the child feel insecure or anxious, a teddy bear or a doll can become a reassuring confidant. Figurines of marionettes can also help the child to interact and communicate with others. Any game that promotes learning and teaches the child to recognize, understand and express their feelings (depending on their level of development) promotes emotional development.
A child is naturally curious and thirsty for knowledge. Anyone who has faced a child’s endless barrage of questions knows this. Playing is a great tool for acquiring general knowledge. It is important to vary the materials and to seek out opportunities in books, trivia games, picture albums and theme-based activities using adequate support material. All of these activities enhance cognitive learning and allow children to discover the world around them and to develop their curiosity. They also promote and further the child's social and emotional development. By observing the activities and games that engage children, you can find ideas for activities and topics related to their interests. The content and the challenge will be adapted to their level of development.
They say that mathematics is everywhere, or just about. It works its way into playing and games as well. How many games do you know that require a child to add up, sort or create sequences? We all know activities and games that involve moving a piece four squares, identifying the card with a green square, counting from one to ten or taking three steps forward. There is a wide range of day-to-day activities that can help develop toddlers’ math skills. All you need is a little patience!
Games and manipulatives encourage the development of math skills in school kids. Arithmetic, geometry, measuring, statistics and probabilities are part of the school curriculum; whether in the classroom or at home, they are also part of a child’s development and can make learning fun.
From the child’s first faltering attempts to speak, to the presentation of an elementary school child in front of the class, there is quite a leap in language development! In the first months, a child needs to communicate. Children pay close attention to sounds and try to respond in their own way. They gradually understand that things and people are associated with specific sounds, which they try to imitate to make themselves understood. They make progress in both understanding and expression, and their vocabulary grows through day-to-day interactions with their parents and educators. Children also learn to communicate and express their emotions during role-playing as they adapt their speech to the situation at hand. There are many ways to stimulate oral language: looking at books, learning nursery rhymes and songs, telling stories, discussing past events, connecting the dots between events, asking questions… Playing with words, finding rhymes or words that begin with the same sound encourage phonological awareness and help children to perceive and identify the various parts of words. Research has shown that a child’s linguistic knowledge is a determining factor in learning to read and write.
Reading and Writing
Learning to identify written words and their meaning is quite a challenge for a six-year-old. The process of learning to read starts during the first grade and unfolds throughout elementary school. More than a mere exercise in decoding visual elements using the alphabet or the ability to generally recognize words, reading forces the child to develop strategies in order to decipher the meaning of a text. Understanding texts is essential to learning other disciplines. Writing a text requires multiple skills that come into play simultaneously, but the skills are acquired gradually throughout elementary school while the child forms letters and does spelling, grammar and punctuation exercises.
Space and Time
Space and time are central to a child’s daily activities: drawing, writing, moving a game piece on a board, solving a puzzle, building things or using reference points to go from one point to another all require organization and spatial orientation skills. On the other hand, telling a story, planning a sequence of events correctly, completing an activity in the allotted time all require organization skills and temporal awareness. These notions are acquired gradually thanks to a series of cognitive and motor skills. You will know that these notions have made their way into language when the child uses words such as inside, outside, next to, behind, in front, after, yesterday, and tomorrow. In short, many aspects of a child’s development involve skills related to the notions of space and time.
Creativity is the capacity to imagine, to construct and to create something new, or to come up with an original solution to a problem. It is not limited to the arts and develops gradually from the age of 18 months. Given its significance in a child’s development, it is important to seize every opportunity to stimulate a child’s creativity on a daily basis. In fact, children who have learned to be creative will be more capable of solving problems and dealing with conflict, of expressing themselves and of exploring and coming up with new ideas. All types of games and activities stimulate creativity. It is important to provide children with a variety of materials with which they can experiment as they please. When it’s time to play, an ordinary piece of cloth suddenly turns into a cap, a picnic tablecloth, a doll’s bedcover, and so much more! Books, nursery rhymes, costumes and improvisation, for example, feed the imagination and bring pleasure to young and old alike.
Thinking logically develops as children interact with their surroundings. At first, the child acquires reasoning skills by observing, comparing, classifying objects in order to tell how they are similar or different. There are plenty of activities that give the brain a workout: solving a 3D puzzle, conducting a scientific experiment, building a model from a plan, playing chess... All of these activities require thought and concentration, and they require the ability to make hypotheses and deductions in order to devise strategies. When children use their power of reasoning, they develop their capacity to solve all kinds of problems.
The sight of a human face provokes a baby’s first social response. Afterwards, infants interact with other humans mostly with objects that they give or take. The child who used to play alone with his or her mother or father will appreciate more and more the company of other children without truly interacting with them at first. It is a period when children play all by themselves. With a more elaborate language that enables them to communicate more easily, preschoolers take pleasure in playing with friends by building things together or by engaging in role-play to imitate daily life. They come to accept the suggestions of their peers, to manage conflict and understand social roles. Integrating board games into their activities helps children to learn to wait their turn, to follow rules, to experience competition in a healthy way and to react well to defeat. Cooperation comes with more competitive team play.