Have you ever had the thought, "I wish I could get something to draw my kid's attention away from the Television?" Or have you ever wondered what it would be like if your kid's brain had an amazing memory and the ability to make connections faster?
Well, there are a variety of ways you can activate your kid's mind. This can include simple games and stories that are fun for all age groups.
Better still, you don't need a team of scientists with brain-specialized degrees to understand how to play these games. You can buy, set it up yourself and watch your kids learn as you continue to bond as a family.
Playing is an integral part of children's development. They do not play to entertain themselves, but rather, it's a constant learning process.
There are various skills acquired while playing sharp mind games for kids. This includes
- Analytical thinking and Comprehensive skills
- Spatial Awareness and Conceptual leaning
- Lateral, Creative, and Critical thinking
- Problem-Solving and Linguistic development
This article highlights some common yet effective games to develop and activate your child's thinking.
1. One-Word Story
This is a group activity that lets the children build a story, one word at a time. In this game, your child develops imagination and teamwork spirit. You can play it indoors as a family, and as a way of spending time together.
What you will need: Space to play, and availability of at least three people
How to play:
· Stand or sit in a circle.
· Pick one person at random and ask them to start the story with a word. These words can be like 'once upon a time, 'yesterday', or 'suddenly.' Then, let the others continue the flow or even find words to finish the sentence.
· The team must build the story until it comes to a conclusion.
These are riddles that make you think. This method of learning was common with the elderly in the 1980s and 1990s.
Often, it's a question that enhances quick and critical thinking in kids. With brainteasers, the clues to answers always hang around the question. Here are some examples;
What belongs to you but is only used by the others?
Answer: Your name
A truck drove to a village and met four cars. How many vehicles went to the village?
Answer: One truck
Feed me, and I will grow. Give me a drink of water, and I will die. Who am I?
Puzzles for Brain Development
Puzzles can effectively engage the child's brain. They help in exercising their problem-solving and analytical skills. Jigsaw puzzles and block puzzles also promote hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. Here are examples of puzzles that can improve your child's brain development.
Sudoku is suitable for school-going children from age five onwards. It entails a number-placement puzzle that has a 9×9 grid with numbers in a few boxes. The player needs to fill in the remaining slots with the appropriate numbers, usually 1-9.
4. Rubik's cube
A Rubik's cube is an excellent method to engage your child on road trips or when there's a lot of waiting periods. Not only does it demand concentration but great analysis and spatial Awareness.
Each side of the cube has different colors, with nine small squares. The game requires the player to get all the same-colored squares to one side in as little time as possible.
There are various routes, in fact, 43 quintillion ways to solve the cube. This means every time a child plays, it enhances their problem-solving skills.
Should I go left? Right? Or Wait here. These are some of the questions your child answers while in a maze.
Whereas it's thrilling to be in an actual maze, it can help children develop a sense of direction and observation skills.
Mazes on paper are equally fascinating. They boost visual ability, problem-solving skills, and motor development skills. The more the number of mazes a child solves, the better they become in problem-solving.
Jigsaw puzzles are simple and can be effective for preschoolers. They aid in developing of child's cognitive skills. They also enhance problem-solving skills, visual perception, and spatial Awareness. Jigsaw puzzles require the child to recreate what they see by putting all the pieces together.
Research has shown that crossword improves a child's vocabulary and builds their memory. Each puzzle is a grid of empty squares that should be filled with the right word.
You are given the clues on the correct answers and expected to figure it out. The more a child works on crosswords, the better he will become at solving it.
Activities for Physical and Brain Exercise
Not all games that work the brain need you to sit in one place. Here are a few activities that keep you fit physically and mentally.
8. Obstacle Courses Games
This is a game that enhances brain and body coordination. The outdoor game aims at improving the child's kinetic skills and problem-solving abilities.
An excellent obstacle course should involve a series of activities. These activities entail obstacles to crawl under, jump over, climb, skip, and walk over.
The obstacle courses can boost early brain development. It also helps the child gain better control over their physical movements.
You can use Chairs, cushions, string, or any other objects that may help you chart the course better.
9. Neighborhood Map Quest
Charting a map is not easy. But it can be interesting to let your child's mind get engaged as he learns about the environment.
Mapping the neighborhood not only improve child's knowledge of the surroundings but enhances their spatial thinking abilities. The kid also gets to learn the basics of mapping, routing, and direction.
Ways to do it;
Give your child a sheet of paper, pencils, and colors.
Ask them to go around the neighborhood for a quick familiarization. Escort them and let them observe the surroundings.
Once they return to the house, let them draw the neighborhood map based on what they have seen.
10. Musical Chairs
This is an exciting game that can teach your child teamwork and how to accept defeat positively.
Set chairs in a circle, with one fewer than the number of children in the game. Make the kids go round the chairs as they dance to music around the circle.
Every time the music stops, children should sit on a chair. Whosoever misses the space is out of the game. Then remove a chair and begin again.
The musical chair game enhances focus in children. It also helps them understand that it's okay to lose to others; hence learn how to be patient as they wait for the next time.
11. Hide and Seek
Hide-and-seek is an outdoor game for teaching problem-solving skills. To stay hidden, children have to assess their options to pick the best possible hiding spot. And, for the seeker to find others, he must apply his intuitive faculty.
This builds spatial Awareness as kids must consider several factors before hiding. These factors can be in the form of questions such as "which hiding places offer the most cover from the most vantage points?"
As they gain experience with the game, kids will take an even more in-depth assessment approach. This will help them to discover better hiding spots.
Gaming is a brain development exercise that has been in use since time immemorial. To date, schools still embrace these activities in the quest to enhance critical thinking in students. Try one activity today to improve your child's memory and have fun all the way.
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