Are you wondering how to foster cognitive development in ways that will excite your children? We can all agree that the best learning experiences are ones that don’t feel like learning at all. Keep reading to discover eight sneaky ways to foster cognitive development in children.
What is Cognitive Development?
So, what is cognitive development, anyway? Cognitive development refers to how children think, explore and figure things out. It encompasses information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory. With proper cognitive development, children should be able to improve their ability to focus, remember information, and think more critically as they age. Cognitive skills allow children to understand the relationships between ideas, grasp the process of cause and effect, and improve their analytical skills. With that said, cognitive development is more than just learning information. Instead, it’s the ability to think about new information, process it, and speak about it.
Here are a few ways I like to foster cognitive development in my homeschool.
1. Board Games
First up is board games. We like to play board games like chess and checkers at our home. Snakes and Ladders is an excellent simple board game for little ones to play. Playing board games is not only a great way to increase brain function, but it also boosts confidence in children and triggers a release of endorphins.
2. Creative Play
Creative play like playing with cardboard boxes, role-playing, or inventing new games is highly encouraged in our homeschool. Creative activities develop your child’s imagination and improve problem-solving, concentration, and critical thinking.
3. Explore the Outdoors
Making time to explore the great outdoors is another wonderful way to foster cognitive development. We enjoy taking family walks along the trail, caring for our vegetable garden, and finding new hidden gems in nature. Exploring outdoors is an excellent promoter of mental health, as it reduces anxiety and stress.
Cooking with your children is not only great for their cognitive development but also a great bonding experience and a way to learn essential math skills like measuring and fractions.
5. Brain Teasers
We start our family lessons with riddles and brain teasers. We call it our brain-building time. And rightfully so, brain teasers improve memory, problem-solving, and work both sides of your child’s brain.
6. New Experiences
We don’t usually think of experiences like kayaking, strawberry picking, and field trips as fostering creative development but exposing our children to varieties of experience offers them a more comprehensive range of creative expression. Even better is exposing our children to various new experiences, which will create new neural pathways as they adapt to the new experiences, learn new information, and create new memories.
7. Physical Activity
Physical health and wellness and the development of critical motor skills directly affect cognition, social and emotional intelligence, and even creativity. A physically healthy and active child learns better and tends to be more emotionally stable and socially intelligent. A physically active child also has greater academic performance, better concentration, and improved behavior.
8. Whole Child Learning
Whole Child Learning prioritizes the full scope of a child’s developmental needs to ensure that every child reaches their full potential. The education model is based on the premise that children have six selves that comprise who they are: cognitive, physical, emotional, social, creative, and spiritual. Think of the full scope of your child’s development as one giant puzzle. All the pieces work together to form the whole child. If just one piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. For instance, a child’s social and emotional health affects their overall development and learning. Likewise, physical health also plays a huge factor in the full scope of a child’s development. Therefore, to ensure your child reaches their cognitive potential, you must ensure they are developing well in all areas.