Activities that promote kids’ cognitive development can be one of the topics which may trigger the parents attention when you have a child at home. I will be sharing a useful tips to help improve your kids’ cognitive development during their early childhood years. If you have children at home and would like to find out the activities that promote kids’ cognitive development, here is the article for you. Please read on.
Activities that promote kids’ cognitive development
Do you know that getting enough exercise or other vigorous physical activities not only make your children strong and fit but also help in their cognitive development? This is crucial during childhood years for them to engage in activities and exercise if parents provides opportunities for the kids to do so. Kids live with an active life not only encourage their development of social skill by interacting with others but definitely reduce prolong screen time.
Get up and exercise!
Exercise does increase blood flow to the brain and deliver oxygen and glucose which help enhance the focus and alertness. Therefore, exercise make them easier to learn.
Physical movement also stimulate the nerve growth factors. When brain and nerve system working efficiently, active kids seem more open to learning and have more capacity for knowledge.
Exercise is also proven to help children perform better in school academically. Some studies show that people can learn faster by 20% that they did before exercise. If your child seems slow in learning, encourage some exercise, improvement may follow.
Exercise also helps creativity. Studies found that exercise can improve cognitive development, the ability of the brain to shift thinking and become creative.
Activities like jumping and involve balance are able to help spatial awareness and brain alertness. This is crucial framework for kids reading and other academic skills.
Exercise also have de-stress function. Stress can make a child perform poorly. Therefore, exercise can help to de-stress and its effect is similar to taking anti-depressant medications.
How is exercise related to cognitive development for kids?
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain
Kids need to focus and obtain high alertness in order to be learning effective. One of the study in 2007 at Columbia University Lab showed 3 months exercise can make ones increase their capacity of learning by 30%. Our brain need oxygen and glucose to stay alert and focus and exercise helps to improve short-term memory, showing faster respond time and higher level of creativity.
Exercise versus BDNF (Brain derived neurotrophic factor)
Exercise can build up the body’s level of BDNF. BDNF is a kind of protein active in connection of nerve cells, enable cell to cell communication. This nerve cells can change and adapt overtime in response to experience, which is important for learning and memory. That is why active kids seems more open to learning and have more capacity of knowledge.
Exercise affects the shape of the brain
Exercise affects the actual shape and function of the kids’ brain. Study showed that kids scored better in the cognitive test that their MRI showed a significantly larger “basal ganglia“. This is the part of brain is associated with control of motor movement, learning, eye movement, emotion and cognition.
How to make kids active and do regular exercise?
Be active yourself as parents
It is important to set an example for your kids. Parents who are active themselves will influence their kids in three-way:
- by acting as role models
- by helping them to be active
- by being active with them
Parents shall provide opportunities to let their kids to live an active lifestyle. Parents who are active themselves, kids tend to be active as well.
Organize family activities
Plan for family activities when you have a free time. Start doing this as early as possible in your children’s lives as it will become an integral part of them to make time for family activities. It is effective in reducing their screen time such as watching TV, playing video games and surfing internet.
Make the activities fun!
Engage your kids in a lot of walking, running, cycling and playing sport games that they love. Look for opportunities to walk, find a place such as neighboring park, sidewalk etc. Teach them the fun of jogging. Run with your kids, or make it a social activity, with friends and relatives. Dancing is also one of activities that kids enjoy. Let’s have a dance off with your kids and watch them sweat out.
Encourage some competition with other family members or siblings. Some creative contest such as who can do the most jumping jacks, skipping rope etc can be interesting and exciting too.
Keep playing !
Kids learn new things through play. Parents and teachers play important roles in kids’ cognitive development stage during early childhood.
According to definition of cognitive development from wikipedia, it says “Cognitive development is how a person perceives, thinks, and gains understanding of their world through the relations of genetic and learning factors through four stages:
According Piaget’s theory, well known psychologist of cognitive development, kids need to go through stages of development to allow them to think like adults.
Children cognitive development stagesHere are the summary of cognitive development stages for kids according to Piaget
|Cognitive Development stages||Age group||Description|
|Sensorimotor||0-2 years old||This is the stage where babies will explore the environment and interact with object through experiences (movement and sensation). In early childhood, they learn the world and show basic and repetitive actions such as grasping, sucking, smiling, looking and listening. They learn to coordinate actions to achieve what they want. Experience the outcome when they repeat the behavior. Understand the object is still exist even if they do not see it (object permanence).|
|Pre operational||2 - 7 years old||At this stage, children are able to communicate with people about what they want, learn to use picture or words to represent object. Children at this age, are more egocentric, can only see certain situation on they own way. They can't see views from other's perspective. They also believe all the lifeless objects have human emotions. They will learn to think more symbolically if they increase in playing and pretending.|
|Concrete operational||7 - 11 years old||At this age group, children are able to think more logically and less egocentric. They understand about principal of conservation.|
|Formal operational||12 and above||At this stage, young adult able to move from logic thinking with concrete examples to abstract examples. They know what they really want in future and they will learn to pursue the goal.|
In the nutshell, exercise or living in an active life for kids helps to improve their cognitive development. If you want your kids to be smarter and achieve great score academically, why not try out the activities that promote kids’ cognitive development and the result shall follow.
Besides introducing cognitive development activities at home or in the classroom, exercise or living in an active life for kids is also equally important, to build a strong intellectual foundation during their childhood year. Therefore, exercise can make kids smarter!!
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P.S I have written another article related to “4 parenting styles – their effect on social behavior of a child“. Click on the link to read on if you are interested.