Product Review – Three Little Piggies from Smart games


This is a logic game from Smart Games, which is marketed for 3 year olds to 6 year olds. We tried it with a 3 ½ year old and a 5 ½ year old. The game: Three Little Piggies is graded into 4 levels of difficulty, and each level is marked and colour coded. There  are also two ways to play: day challenges, and night challenges. Day challenges: These don’t include the wolf, and the piggies are free to roam around their houses. The board is set up according to the challenge in the book, and the aim is to correctly place the pieces around… Read More »

Development Series: The First Year of a Baby’s Life

DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIRST YEAR OF LIFE The first year of a baby’s life is crammed full of development in all areas: sensory, gross motor, fine motor and language. Parents often find themselves wondering what they should be doing with their little ones to enhance these areas of development, so here is some information on what’s happening at each stage, and play ideas to go with them: Birth to 3 months Your little one has just come into the world, and is bombarded with so many new things: light, fluctuating temperature, noise, gravity and feeding. A full term infant’s sensory system is mature enough to… Read More »

Strong to the Core – Developing Children’s Core Strength through Exercise & Play


If you have ever done pilates, or other similar forms of exercise, you will know that strengthening the core is key. Why is this so important? Your core (which is essentially the muscles in your trunk – the abdominals and back muscles) forms a stable base from which the muscles of the shoulders and pelvis develop. This is essential for good function of the arms and legs. Core stability develops over the first four months of life, when a baby spends time playing on his back and tummy against gravity, and this sets the scene for what is to come from a physical point of… Read More »

Why Dolls Play is so Good for Child Development

MD0047_Annie Doll 1

The doll is one of those toys which has been around for generations, and continues to delight boys and girls alike. There are so many good reasons for your little ones to play with dolls (boys and girls)…read on to see why Dolls help to develop your child’s cognitive, fine motor and self- help skills, as they act out care routines and dress the doll. The developmental benefits in terms of speech and language go without saying – your toddler can learn body parts, types of clothing, and can practice their language skills while playing. Children use play to understand their world. Doll play helps… Read More »

Toys that Help Children Develop Spatial, Creative and Social Skills

We recently read this newsletter article from the Child Development Institute which beautifully articulates the wonderful developmental benefits of toys. An article published by the Association of Psychological Science in January 2015 found that children who play frequently with puzzles, construction, and board games tend to have better spatial reasoning ability.  They studied the play behavior of 847 children ages 4–7 from a nation-wide sample covering all socioeconomic groups, and used scores from a psychological test of cognitive functions.  Past studies have also found similar benefit for older children and teens. Spatial ability is the capacity to understand and remember the spatial relations among objects.  Visual-spatial… Read More »

The Importance of Shape and Colour

Melissa&Doug_Shape Sorting Cube

Have you ever wondered why there is such a focus on learning colours and shapes in the early years? It’s because these are two very noticeable attributes of the world around us. Look outside:  green trees, brown rectangle buildings, square windows, and blue sky. Colours and shapes are ways children observe and categorise what they see, define and organise their world. Understanding colour and shapes helps a child to learn many important school-based skills, from mathematics and science to language and reading. When young children are asked to sort objects (such as leaves, rocks, shells, or keys) they would use colour, shape, and size, to… Read More »

Are your kids spending enough time in active play?

Active image

We thought we would kick off the year with some thoughts and guidelines for activity levels in children – something to ponder over, and hopefully plan around, to give your children the best chance for fitness and health. The Canadian Physical Activity guidelines say the following:   INFANTS Infants under 1 year should be physically active several times a day by engaging in interactive floor-based play. Being active as an infant means: tummy time, reaching for toys using some effort, playing or rolling on the floor, crawling or walking around the house TODDLERS and PRESCHOOLERS Toddlers (aged 1 to 2 years) and preschoolers (2 to… Read More »

How much television should kids be watching?


                      We are often asked by parents just how much television or electronic media time they should be exposing their young kids to, and they are equally often shocked when we tell them that research suggests the answer is very little, or none at all! While TV can often be the convenient answer for a bit of peace and quiet or an hour or two to keep the kids busy while you get something else done, there are dozens of alternative play or reading options that can keep your kids busy while providing positive stimulation… Read More »

What Makes a Toy Educational?


            This article featured in the Nov/Dec issue of Your Baby: Nicole Hilburn, paediatric physiotherapist and owner of Brightbeans Toys, has the following recommendations per age group Which toys at what age? Baby A baby develops rapidly in all areas in his first year– cognitive, language, sensory, and gross and fine motor skills. From a play perspective, he won’t have great control of his hands. He’ll enjoy toys with different textures, attractive and bright colours or patterns that stimulate visual development, and interesting shapes and objects to explore. Most things go into the mouth for exploration, as the baby gets more information this way than though his hands because his fine… Read More »

Our first blog on…..what else but child development!

Brightbeans_Child Development

Welcome to the Brightbeans blog! We have started this blog as a place to share thoughts and information, latest news and most importantly to hear from you! We hope to cover topics like child-development, great toys, parenting challenges and anything else you want to talk about! Ask The Experts – If you have questions on child-development, please add your comments or send us a note here. We’d love to hear from you and our team of child-development experts will do their best to answer any specific questions you have.     For our very first post we wanted to talk to something that is close to… Read More »