One of the most exciting things about being a parent is watching your child grow from one stage to another. The physical growth is expected as it mostly happens in real time. However, it is the mental development that gets parents off their chairs jumping for joy.
It’s when we hear our child say their first word. Or when we watch them tell things apart. When they identify something on their own. And when they solve a problem on their own. We live for these moments and they make us celebrate life. They are all aspects of cognitive development.
What is Cognitive Development?
In her book Cognitive Development, Lisa Oakley defines cognitive development as all psychological processes and activities in children and young people and “how they become more efficient and effective in their understanding of the world.”
It’s how a child understands, remembers, memorizes and processes information. We all want our children to have the ability to recognize, remember, solve and apply the things they learn and observe.
Although these processes are natural in most cases and should be expected to take place on their own, if not encouraged or exercised, their development can be stifled.
This will leave the child with very low cognitive abilities compared to his/her peers. Therefore, to exercise your child’s thinking skills, here is a list of five easy games you can play with them to enhance their cognitive development.
- The Guess Game
The guessing game is good for learning new knowledge or for recollection purposes (memory). You can play the Who am I or What am I game here. For example:
- I am above you
- I am yellow in colour
- You can see me but you can’t touch me
- I am hot.
- What am I?
Ans: I am the Sun
2. The Category Game
Category games help the child to relate things to each other. It shows that they understand something and they can fit it where it belongs. These are fun when you create them yourself but they can also be bought in stores. Also under this category, children can match a word to a picture or an object in the room.These can be shapes, puzzles, numbers, categories of animals, colors, fruits, food, etc. For example:
- Draw a table on a board.
- Put categories of fruits, colors, animals
- Write names of fruits, colors, and animals on different pieces of paper
- Shuffle the papers into a bowl and ask child to pick a paper
- Ask the child to pin the paper to the matching category on the board.
3. The Alphabet Game
This game allows the child to remember what they already know and to also learn new words. Here’s how it works;
- Ask the child to give a word for each letter of the alphabet. Or,
- Say a word and ask the child to name the first letter of the word. Or,
- Ask the child to name places (countries, cities, venues), that start with each letter of the alphabet.
4. The Question of the Day Game
The purpose of the Question of the Day Game is to help children remember what happened during the day. It helps them pick out the most important details and to remember them for future purposes. This can be information relating to their school or home activities. It is fun when done at supper time while the family is eating together. It is a fun way to learn about how everyone’s day went. It is also an opportunity to learn something new. For example;
- If the children watched a movie that day, ask them about a character in that movie.
- Ask them if there’s anything they learned from the movie or play. Or,
- You can ask simple questions like; which city did daddy visit two days ago? Or what is mummy’s favorite color?
5. Sorting Games
The sorting game plays directly to the child’s thinking ability. It allows them to assess and then solve potential puzzles before them. it enhances their sense of organization depending on the environment. It is a little bit more complex than the category game. An example of a sorting game is Lego.
- According to Wikipedia, Lego “focuses on a series of playable games of different types, all of which use Lego bricks, and use the Lego concept of building to encourage players to change and adapt the rules of the games.”
- These games can be bought at the local toy store.