10 Ways to Help Your Child’s Cognitive Development

a child holding bricks
*Collaborative Post

Watching your child grow is one of the joys of being a parent. You want them to grow to the best of their ability, so adding a few activities for your child’s cognitive development can help your child through some struggles they may have. These activities spark creativity and critical thinking, all while being enjoyable for your child, no matter how old they are. Try them out whenever your kid seems bored, and they’ll reap the benefits of these fun pastimes.

1. Read Books

If your child hasn’t yet started to read, reading to them is the best thing that you can do together. Encourage them to become invested in fictional worlds through you reading the contents of an easy-to-understand chapter book.

By around kindergarten or first grade, your child should start to read, but you can’t always quantify everything by age. Your child may begin reading much younger, or they could want you to read to them for beyond the expected years. Either is okay, but encouraging them to read and reading to them might help them learn to read earlier in their development.

2. Start Counting

Math is notoriously difficult for many kids, especially as they get older. By teaching them their numbers young, you may set them up to perform better in math classes in the future. Challenge your child to learn new numbers before they learn addition and subtraction. By counting and knowing which numbers come next in the lineup, they’ll be able to complete math problems with more finesse than they would otherwise if they were struggling to remember their numbers.

3. Listen to Music

When your child asks to listen to music, take care in choosing the music you expose them to. The best option is to build a healthy enjoyment of classical music, as it can help your child grow. You might even help them become curious about music and teach them about it, if you’re musically inclined. Studying music can boost a child’s IQ more than just listening to it, but it’s also okay if they just want to jam out to some music and dance to the beat of their own drum.

4. Play Outside

Playing outside is a great way for kids to work all of their muscles — including their social muscles if you go to a public playground. Many playsets are equipped with toys that function as tools to help grow your child’s cognitive abilities, meaning you can sit back and watch them explore the world while they receive decision-making and critical thinking skills that will benefit them later in life. You may also find that they have improved focus after playing or when completing a task on these playsets.

5. Learn a Sport

Learning a sport can keep your child engaged and teach them something new to play with their friends. Playing a sport typically takes some form of coordination, such as dribbling a basketball correctly or kicking a soccer ball in the direction you want it to go. You can improve your child’s coordination while encouraging them to learn something new and fun.

6. Play Memory Games

Fun memory games can test how well your child can remember something in the short term. You can use guided online games to help your child improve their memory skills, or you can make a game yourself without screens. Your kid will find these games fun, and they may not even know that they’re improving themselves while doing something they love.

7. Make Art Projects

Art projects are the best way for your child to express themselves at any age. For younger children who may not be as coordinated, you can offer them a tray of paint and allow them to go wild on the canvas. The different colors will stimulate your child’s brain, and it’ll help them learn which colors they like and don’t, as well as which ones go together well.

8. Practice Writing

Whether you want your child to jump into the world of fiction or just practice their penmanship, writing is a great option to promote creativity and learning. If your child struggles with writing their name, help them practice it and a few other words until they feel confident. Learning a new skill that might put them ahead of their class could leave them feeling ready to take on any challenge.

9. Sing Songs With Movement

Songs with movement can help teach your child how to coordinate their actions with their words. You might choose to dance to “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” which prompts your child to clap their hands throughout the song. Other songs, like “The Hokey Pokey” and “Cha Cha Slide,” can work great for older kids with more coordination. Whenever you and your child feel in the mood for a random dance party, action-oriented songs are great to put on.

10. Encourage Questions

Above all, you should always encourage your child to ask questions if they don’t understand something. Asking you about something they don’t know and receiving a satisfying answer in return can promote life-long curiosity. It can also benefit them in classrooms as they age, as they won’t be so scared to ask their teachers questions about the material. Even if a question seems silly, answering it can benefit your child in several ways.

Learn Alongside Your Child

While every child develops at their own pace, there’s nothing wrong with pushing them to flex their creative muscles and enjoy themselves. As your child ages, they’ll learn more about the world they live in. Right now, as their parent, you are their first teacher — so give them exercises that are fun and beneficial that will prepare them for the classroom and beyond. Ultimately, they’ll be grateful that you were so involved in creating a better future for them.

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