GAMES- AN IMPORTANT ASPECT FOR GROWTH
As they say, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ Games are a natural way to make young children learn. Not only do they help in skill building but also shaping the naive minds since an early age. Even while just playing, pre-schoolers and toddlers are putting in their hard-work in assimilating all the knowledge about the world. Their curious minds have endless questions about how things work, and the ideal way to learn is through games. Children at play are creating, experimenting, learning and solving problems. A child’s relationship with different people also supports his cognitive development, specially the relationship with parents. And play is an important relationship builder. Parents can encourage the cognitive development of their child by engaging with them in fun and play games that improve their concentration, attention, memory and perception.
Here are a few games that will not only aid in the child’s cognitive development but also boost his thinking process, intellect and hand-motor skills.
- HIDE AND SEEK: A favourite and most played among all children, Hide and Seek can give an important lesson in problem-solving. Hiding away from your child and telling him to find you poses a big challenge in front of him. All he has to do is toggle his mind and search for the solution to the problem. A little run and play and some exercise is good for the young buddy’s strength too.
- PUZZLES: Puzzles are the most interesting way to make the child aware of different shapes and sizes. The little physical stress of making all the pieces fit is good for the memory too. Reaching till the end instils a sense of achievement and teaches the young one to meet his short term goals while being patient.
- SIMON SAYS: Giggles and laughter are synonymous with Simon Says. This one is most effective in cognitive development. Just say “Simon Says…” and add any command to it, for e.g. “Simon Says, touch your feet”, or “jump around” or “give a hug.” This is a great way to teach the child about body parts, daily life actions and different objects of everyday use. As it can be played in a group too, the child learns to interact and behave with other people. Play and learn becomes fun with Simon Says.
- ODD ONE OUT: Odd One Out proves to be very informative for children. It can be played with ample number of things. Place cubes in front of your child with atleast one cube of a different colour. To take it up a notch, do this with shapes or flashcards. Not only does the child become aware of shapes, colours, sizes etc. but is also faced with making a quick decision. That’s what gives a boost to his cognitive development.
- PLAY WITH DAILY ITEMS: Ask your child to match lids with their containers, fold his socks, go two or five down the stairs or tie his shoe laces. This method is educational and cost effective. It tests the presence of mind. The child feels in control of his actions and some physical activity is good for the mind, heart and body.
- PEEK-A-BOO: Peek-a-boo is another game to spice things up. Just hide your face behind a pillow and pop it in front of your child immediately. He’ll be surprised to another level! Tell him to do the same in the next round and shout Peek-a-boo! This game, as fun as it gets while playing, demonstrates the child’s ability to understand object permanence, which is very crucial for cognitive development. Different versions of this game can be played, indoors or outdoors.
UNDERSTANDING THE COGNITIVE PSYCHE
Children are a gift of god. They are born with their own strengths, skills, features and weaknesses. Different age groups behave differently and we must respect this difference while giving the children important lessons in life.
- A two year old will copy the actions of adults, point things in a book, follow simple instructions and play simple games. While these toddlers are still learning how the world works, games like Simon Says and Peek-a-Boo are perfect for their young minds to learn some development skills.
- A three year old can name familiar things, differentiate between his parents, show concern for somebody crying and play with dolls etc. Games like Playdough, Puzzles for beginners and Dolls helps the young ones’ growth at this stage.
- A four year old can play with other children by himself, say his first and last name, play board and card games, speak clearly and draw to a certain extent. Children at this age should be engaged in games like Scavenger Hunt, Kitchen/Doctor Set, play Cards and Building blocks. It helps them to associate objects and solve problems.
- A five year old can sing, dance and act, make geometric shapes easily, climb and swing and sometimes be very demanding and the next moment, extremely obedient. This is the age when the child has gotten an idea about the working of most things. Engaging in board games like Monopoly Junior, Snakes and Ladders and outdoor games like Paper Towel Art and Musical Chairs improve the sensibility of children and provide an outlet to outdoor interaction.