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In our class, we recently discussed Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. His theory is divided up into four categories, where each category represents an age group. The sensorimotor stage is for birth to 2 years, the preoperational stage is for 2 to 6 years, concrete operational stage is for 6 to 12 years, and finally, the formal operational stage represents 12 years and above. When asked to go into a local toy store, it is no shock that the toys parallel with these stages of Piaget’s theory.I decided to go to Babys R Us, because it focuses more on the younger age groups rather than the teenagers. As soon as I walked in to the door, the first thing you can see is racks filled with baby clothes, and baby toys. While I was walking through this section, without even looking at the tags, I could tell which gender each piece of clothing belonged to. The boy’s clothes were blue or green, with zoo animals or trucks on them, and the girl’s clothes were pink or purple with flowers, or princesses.The toys for this age group were the same. However, not only were they gender specific, they also followed Piaget’s theory. The section for babies just born had smaller toys, that were much simpler; toys that made noise, or rattled, and even different textures and colors. According to Piaget, the sensorimotor stage is the stage of exploring the senses, and object permanence. The toys for this age group match up with his theory because they all are toys that are intriguing to the senses, and also could help the child learn object permanence.Moving along in the store, the next age group of toys were mainly learning toys, such as books, or puzzles; toys with tool sets, or kitchen sets, and even toys that had letters for the child to learn words, or spelling. These toys align with the preoperational stage, because during this stage the child learns more about language, and reasoning. The concrete operational stage was also manifested in the toys. I began to see more action figures, and colorful learning toys. During this stage, the child learns best with hands on activities, and logical reasoning.In this section of toys, I also noticed that the boys had guy action figures, and the girls had princess dolls, or barbies. Finally, the older kid’s toys modeled the formal operational stage. Piaget believes that cognitive development matures in this stage and that abstract learning becomes a skill. All of the toys, and games for this age group were much more detailed, and mature; not just a simple doll, but one with an actual dress, or that you could really style her hair. These toys allow the children to begin to think abstractly, and prepare them for the “what-if” questions in life.In conclusion, the trip I took to the toy store really brought to my attention that the simple difference in gender or age, can really have an impact on the appearance of a toy. Every age group represented the socialization of gender in some way. Boys were always the blue colors, or animals, to give them that masculine aspect, and girls were pink and glittered to give them the girly, helpless quality. Overall, I found it quite interesting that even things such as toys actually serve a learning purpose for children that help them grow and develop alongside the Piaget model.

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