Fisher-Price, the manufacturer of the Laugh & Learn Basketball toy, describes it as a valuable learning tool for children at the early stages of their development. According to the toy manufacturing firm, the toy can turn a little child who plays with it into a little sportsman, at the same time, giving him or her some ideas about shapes, numbers, and letters among others. Laugh & Learn is a toy with a number of components: five light-up shapes that are interacting, three dancing lights in a rim, and a thump dunk hoop that has backboard hands ton. As such, this toy puts the baby under a load of actions. In an interactive learning approach, this toy attempts to teach alphabets, numbers, the first few words, colours, and shapes. With this toy, the child engages in two forms of play at the same time, music and learning with more than ten songs and music tunes. The toy is also adjustable in response to the changing height of the child, and parents usually buy it with an extra ball.
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The Laugh & Learn Basketball toy by Fisher-Price can enhance the child’s linguistic skills in the five areas of language, which include semantics, pragmatics, phonology, syntax, and grammatical morphology. The research has established that children can employ toys as instruments in discovering themselves, their immediate environment, and society at large. Apart from playing a pivotal role in ensuring that a child becomes a strong and healthy personality, the toys also boost the skills of reading and writing. Phonology is one of the areas in the linguistic skills development which will develop in child while playing with Fisher-Price toy. Phonology is the form of a given language that a child needs to learn. It focuses on sounds and rules that entail combination and sequencing. Through the sound produced by this toy the linguistic skills of phonology are developing in the child. The fact that children are able to distinguish between some sounds of speech even at the age of one month underlines this argument.
Semantics, the study of the content of a language, is another aspect of language skills that can be significantly enhanced by the Laugh & Learn basketball toy from Fisher-Price. The toy offers visual qualities that evoke emotions through its sounds, forms, and colours. The research has established that the toys that reflect reality, as in the case of Laugh & Learn Basketball toy by Fisher-Price, have the highest possibility of triggering emotions in children. Thus, it would enhance their semantics, which is a significant area in the development of language skills in children.
Furthermore, since the toy comprises of the first few words and some shapes among other things, it should be noted that it will positively impact on the morphology of any child playing with the toy. Morpheme, from where the word “morphology” originates, is the smallest unit of the language that relays some meaning. By regular encountering with the first few words during interaction with the Laugh & Learn Basketball toy, children are likely to enhance grammatical morphology by learning to utter words like “daddy”, “mum”, and some others. Children’s regular interaction with this toy is also likely to develop syntax because they get an ability to appreciate parts of speech and the rules of word order. Syntax, which is a form of language, will enable the child to appreciate straightforward sentences like “go play”, among many others that comprise the words “what”, “where”, “how”, “when”, and “who”. Lastly yet significantly, this toy can enhance the pragmatic language skills of a child. It is quite apparent that through interacting with a toy comprising of sounds, colours, shapes, and alphabets, a child will communicate by trying to respond back, which in turn would enhance his or her pragmatics.
According to Piaget’s classification of the various stages of cognitive development in a child, Laugh & Learn Basketball toy is the most appropriate for kids at the sensory-motor stage, which starts from birth till the age of two. During this stage of development, the children need to differentiate themselves from objects. Through interacting with this toy, children would be able to recognize themselves as agents of action, which is a key aspect of development. During this stage, a child who interacts with such a toy will learn permanence of objects more quickly, which means that things continue to undergo presentation even when one’s senses are not there.
According to Fisher-Price, Laugh & Learn Basketball toy fits children in the best way when they are about six to eighteen months. Development-wise, a child at this stage can walk without assistance and interact with different objects like toys. Other notable characters of a child at this stage are murmuring a few words and initially dropping toys before properly engaging with them. In view of the various enabling features that comprise the toy by Fisher-Price, one can safely say that it can speed the cognitive development of the child to the next stage, which requires a sense of autonomy from parents. In conclusion, it should be mentioned that apart from entertaining children, toys are the instruments that can assist children in exploring their immediate environment. In this regard, parents should ensure that their children interact with toys at the early stages of their development.