Keen to focus on your child’s mental development early on? These fun games will serve the purpose.
By Malini Gopalakrishnan
Studies have shown that the minds of toddlers are much more receptive to information and new concepts. A still developing brain is looking for hands to shape them and activities that hone them. Here are some activities and games that are excellent for your child’s mental development.
Just as the body needs exercise and activity to keep it healthy, agile and active, so does the brain need activities that exercise, sharpen and increase its capability. Children’s minds, being impressionable and still in the way of development, need this exercise even more than their adult counterparts. Through simple, fun activities and games you can keep your child’s mind stimulated and active. Keep the grey cells busy!!!
Find the difference: A fun game which is available in all shapes and sizes. You even have a column in the toon section of the daily newspaper. It is as simple as looking at two picture tiles which have the same picture with minor differences. The child is trained to observe the pictures carefully and pick out the differences between them. This is excellent for mental development since it forces the brain to focus on the tiny details and helps improve concentration.
Memory basket: This is a simple game that you can easily play anywhere with just a simple collection of small objects and a basket/box. All you have to do is put a number of small but visible objects in the box like crayons, fridge magnets, balls… About 10 objects are good. Allow your child to have a good look at the contents of the basket. Then, take away the basket and ask your child to tell you what was in the box. Memory games are great to build short-term and long-term memory.
Scrambled sequences: If your child is old enough to read, write out single words of a sentence on cards of paper and jumble them. Ask your child to reorder the words to make up a sentence that makes sense. The exercise is great to help build language skills in children. It also helps hone vocabulary and fluency in the language. For younger children, even arranging letters of the alphabet or numbers in order will work.
Puzzle it out: Everybody knows that puzzles are a great way to take the brain for a jog, so to say. But why? Working on solving puzzles helps develop skills like logic, reasoning, problem-solving and strategic thinking. Even though this might seem a lot for that simple cartoon picture puzzle you bought for your child, these are cognitive skills that are developed as a result of solving puzzles frequently.
Pretend play: You often see children play pretend games, playing house with the dolls or playing soldier combat games with G. I. Joe toys. These games are in fact very healthy for children’s mental development. Playing make-up games involves employing a great deal of imagination which on the outside looks cute. But, what looks to you like childish fun and games is actually hundreds of neurons working together to manipulate images, memories and alternative situations to create a world of make-believe. Even though the exact mechanism is not known, scientists believe that encouraging children’s imagination is one of the best therapies for brain development.
Paper toss: Games and activities that work on the hand-eye coordination are extremely beneficial for children in their early years. A simple game of paper toss, with scrunched up paper (use old newspaper bits) and an empty bin are all you need. Keep the bin a reasonable distance away from your child and ask him to toss the paper balls into the bin. Watch how much he enjoys this zero-investment game as he develops better hand-eye coordination and better control. Games of this kind are also great for the visual-spatial skill of the brain as they help the child develop a better sense of his three-dimensional environment.
So, get your toddler to have a whale of a time with these fun and engaging activities knowing that they will help sharpen the mental prowess of their little minds.
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