Child Development 101

When we first started Invenio, we had the idea to organize our products by "developmental goals", to be useful for parents. Your feedback tells us we were right, but we're trying to be even better. Part of that is learning as much as we can about child development ourselves. Here's some of what we've learned so far. Join the conversation at facebook.com/InvenioToys

  • Child Age*:
  • Gender:
  • Height:
  • Weight:
  • Words they hear/hour:















Start by selecting your child's age

Neural pathways
How are they learning?

We now know that learning starts even before birth. But there is an absolute explosion of new neural pathways formed during the first six months of life. Of course they learn from seeing and hearing, but don't forget the other senses. And babies explore with their mouths as much as their hands.

(1) Don't be afraid to stimulate them. Look for toys with bright colors, different textures, lights and sounds.

(2) Safety first. Avoid toys with small parts, toys from auspicious sources, and use your judgement.

(3) Think whether the toy is developmentally appropriate. Avoid toys that require higher level thinking or complicated skills (e.g., a wind-up car requires fine motor skills beyond that of any newborn).

Toddlers experience slower growth of neurons than babies, but they have something babies don't - a newfound ability to explore the world themselves. Through movement and interaction, toddlers learn about their environment.

(1) If your toddler seems crazy at times, it may only be because she has the greatest number of neural connections she may ever have. After toddler-hood, the brain begins paring down connections (it's called "pruning"), to allow for higher cognitive function and optimized thinking.

(2) Language is a huge component of cognitive development in toddlers. Speak often, and encourage them to communicate.

(3) Help them understand their influence on the world. Participating, through action and reaction, forms new pathways that lead to understanding.

Preschool and school-aged children have already formed most of their neural pathways. If you're still trying to stimulate your child with bright colors, sounds and textures...you may be wasting your time.

Focus instead on higher-level goals, like problem-solving, social-skills, reading-readiness and reading, and social development.

Pre-teens and teens are not growing their brains like they once were, but there is amble opportunity to introduce them to higher-level concepts and help them develop a well-rounded understanding of the world.

Abstract thinking

Structured thinking

Toys that promote Cognitive Development:
Ladybug Math Counting Set
Ladybug Math Counting Set Sold Out - $23.95 $34.95
+ quick
Playable Art - Ball
Playable Art - Ball Sold Out - $24.50 $31.95
+ quick
Sensory Color Wheel
Sensory Color Wheel $23.00
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Babies:
Hape Rock and Ride Rocking Horse
Hape Rock and Ride Rocking Horse Sold Out - $56.21 $74.95
+ quick
Homemade Wooden Bunny Push Toy
Homemade Wooden Bunny Push Toy Sold Out - $25.00
+ quick
Block Tunnel
Block Tunnel Sold Out - $29.95 $38.00
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Toddlers:
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set Sold Out - $38.95
+ quick
Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder Sold Out - $11.95 $18.00
+ quick
Interactive Workbench - Cherry Wood
Interactive Workbench - Cherry Wood Sold Out - $42.00 $59.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Preschoolers:
Alphabet Snake Wooden Puzzle
Alphabet Snake Wooden Puzzle Sold Out - $32.50 $45.00
+ quick
Shut the Box - Wooden Math Game
Shut the Box - Wooden Math Game Sold Out - $27.50 $35.00
+ quick
Counting Beads
Counting Beads Sold Out - $60.00
+ quick
Toys we recommend for School-Aged Children:
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - Strange Attractor
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - Strange Attractor Sold Out - $11.95 $16.50
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Dog
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Dog Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick
Quadrilla Marble Run – The Roundabout
Quadrilla Marble Run – The Roundabout Sold Out - $67.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Pre-teens / Teens / Adults:
Scribbler - The Drawing Robot
Scribbler - The Drawing Robot Sold Out - $25.00
+ quick
3 Wooden Puzzles Gift Set
3 Wooden Puzzles Gift Set Sold Out - $32.00 $47.00
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick
Select a height & weight to see personalized information.
Your Charts
Growth Patterns

The parts of your young child's body are growing at different rates. Growth, differentiation and control start at the head and work their way down. Similarly, growth starts at the center of the body and moves to the extremeties. So, expect the proverbial "cart" to come after the "horse".

For example:

  • Eye/brain growth → jaw growth
  • See toys → control torso to interact with toys
  • Use hands → crawl/walk
  • Control trunk/arms → control hands
  • Control hands → control fingers
Motor Skills

So how do they develop physical skills, like crawling or throwing a ball?

When children are presented with a new situation in which they are (1) motivated to do something, and (2) forced to assemble their motor skills in a novel way, they are in a prime position to learn! Try placing something your child is interested in front of them, but in a way that the child can get it, but does not know how to get it.

Puberty = the Second chance

While most of a child's developmental milestones are crossed before the age of five, there is an entirely different wave of milestones in their pre-teen/teen years.

Self-concious Teens

Pre-teens and teens can appear less coordinated than they once were, but remember that their bodies are changing more rapidly than they have been since they were toddlers. Don't let embarassment or awkwardness get in the way of continued physical development.

Developmental Milestones:
Age Milestones
< 6 months open eyes, hold up head
6 to 12 months sit up, crawl, maybe stand
12 to 18 months crawl up stairs, maybe walk, draw lines with crayon
2 yrs up and down steps, sit on chair, use spoon/fork, turn pages in book, kick a ball, build tower of six blocks, attempt to dress self
3 yrs run well, march, stand on one foot briefly, ride tricycle, feed self, button/unbutton, put on shoes (without laces)
4 yrs skip on one foot, cut with scissors, wash/dry face, dress self, throw ball overhand
5-6 yrs hop and skip, dress without help, good balance, smoother muscle action, skate, ride scooter, write simple letters, establish handedness
7-8 yrs stand on one foot with eyes closed (briefly), walk in a line heel-toe, skip on both feet, maybe ride a bicycle, jump rope, catch/bounce tennis ball, tie shoelaces
9 yrs roll, bat, kick and throw balls
Toys that promote Physical Development:
Crawling Car Handcrafted Push Toy
Crawling Car Handcrafted Push Toy Sold Out - $17.00
+ quick
Hape Rock and Ride Rocking Horse
Hape Rock and Ride Rocking Horse Sold Out - $56.21 $74.95
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Babies:
Wooden Alphabet Blocks - Handmade in Lithuania
Wooden Alphabet Blocks - Handmade in Lithuania Sold Out - $29.00
+ quick
Crawling Car Handcrafted Push Toy
Crawling Car Handcrafted Push Toy Sold Out - $17.00
+ quick
Hape Scoot Around Ride On
Hape Scoot Around Ride On Sold Out - $74.95
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Toddlers:
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set Sold Out - $38.95
+ quick
Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder Sold Out - $11.95 $18.00
+ quick
Interactive Workbench - Cherry Wood
Interactive Workbench - Cherry Wood Sold Out - $42.00 $59.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Preschoolers:
Alphabet Snake Wooden Puzzle
Alphabet Snake Wooden Puzzle Sold Out - $32.50 $45.00
+ quick
Shut the Box - Wooden Math Game
Shut the Box - Wooden Math Game Sold Out - $27.50 $35.00
+ quick
Counting Beads
Counting Beads Sold Out - $60.00
+ quick
Toys we recommend for School-Aged Children:
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - Strange Attractor
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - Strange Attractor Sold Out - $11.95 $16.50
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Dog
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Dog Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick
Quadrilla Marble Run – The Roundabout
Quadrilla Marble Run – The Roundabout Sold Out - $67.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Pre-teens / Teens / Adults:
Scribbler - The Drawing Robot
Scribbler - The Drawing Robot Sold Out - $25.00
+ quick
3 Wooden Puzzles Gift Set
3 Wooden Puzzles Gift Set Sold Out - $32.00 $47.00
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick
Select the words they hear to see personalized information.
Word Chart
High/Medium/Low based on socio-economic groups of Hart and Risely 1995 study.

25 Words They Should Say

A study at Bryn Mawr College revealed there are 25 words every child should know by age 2. While just a guide, and not necessarily an indication of development achievement or disorders, take a look just for fun. The words are:

Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Milk, Juice, Banana, Cookie, More, All gone, Hello, Bye-Bye, Thank You, Yes, No, Not, Dog, Cat, Hat, Bath, Ball, Book, Car, Shoe, Nose, Eye

Early Years are Critical

Forcing older children to study vocabulary may have only a fleeting effect on their language. By age three, the trajectory of a child's ultimate vocabulary is largely set.

Talk & Play with Your Child!

The more they hear, the more they learn. The number of words a child is exposed to contributes strongly to their vocabulary development. Playing with your child, particularly games that require cooperative discussion or instruction, means you are TALKING more with your child.

86 - 98% of words in a child's vocabulary are in their parents' vocabulary
Language Milestones:
Age Words they say Comments
< 6 mos. likely none Cooing, laughter, vocal play
6 to 12 mos. first words (maybe) Start babbling
12 to 18 mos. 50-100 Systematically playing with sounds, first words
2 yrs 200-300
3 yrs 500-1,000 Learn words without visual reference
5 yrs 2,100 Learn abstract words (e.g., ‘freedom’)
6 yrs 2,600 Know 22,000 words
6-8 yrs Learn 6-7 words/day
8-12 yrs Learn 12 words/day
Toys that promote Language and Math Development:
Storybook Blocks - The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Storybook Blocks - The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sold Out - $21.75 $29.00
+ quick
Wooden Alphabet Blocks - Handmade in Lithuania
Wooden Alphabet Blocks - Handmade in Lithuania Sold Out - $29.00
+ quick
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set Sold Out - $38.95
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Babies:
Wooden Alphabet Blocks - Handmade in Lithuania
Wooden Alphabet Blocks - Handmade in Lithuania Sold Out - $29.00
+ quick
Crawling Car Handcrafted Push Toy
Crawling Car Handcrafted Push Toy Sold Out - $17.00
+ quick
Hape Scoot Around Ride On
Hape Scoot Around Ride On Sold Out - $74.95
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Toddlers:
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set
Wooden Hearts Counting & Sorting Set Sold Out - $38.95
+ quick
Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder Sold Out - $11.95 $18.00
+ quick
Interactive Workbench - Cherry Wood
Interactive Workbench - Cherry Wood Sold Out - $42.00 $59.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Preschoolers:
Alphabet Snake Wooden Puzzle
Alphabet Snake Wooden Puzzle Sold Out - $32.50 $45.00
+ quick
Shut the Box - Wooden Math Game
Shut the Box - Wooden Math Game Sold Out - $27.50 $35.00
+ quick
Counting Beads
Counting Beads Sold Out - $60.00
+ quick
Toys we recommend for School-Aged Children:
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - Strange Attractor
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - Strange Attractor Sold Out - $11.95 $16.50
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Dog
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Dog Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick
Quadrilla Marble Run – The Roundabout
Quadrilla Marble Run – The Roundabout Sold Out - $67.50
+ quick
Toys we recommend for Pre-teens / Teens / Adults:
Scribbler - The Drawing Robot
Scribbler - The Drawing Robot Sold Out - $25.00
+ quick
3 Wooden Puzzles Gift Set
3 Wooden Puzzles Gift Set Sold Out - $32.00 $47.00
+ quick
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot
Build-Your-Own Paper Kit - Robot Sold Out - $14.62 $19.50
+ quick

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