Cognitive Development Activities for Kids

What the cognitive skills are and why child need to develop them? Cognitive skills are an important block in child’s developments starting at the early age. Cognitive skills are the thinking skills that are used when your child is learning. Cognitive skills begin with a concrete thinking (identifying) and progress to abstract thinking (hypothesizing).

How can you get your child to develop higher order thinking skills? You will encourage your child to solve the problem and think about new ideas. The lower order thinking involves memorization, ordering information and definition. While higher order thinking involves reasoning, discussing, evaluating and predicting. The good example of higher thinking is a pattern. To solve the pattern your child first need to examine, then evaluate and then predict.

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Patterning Activities

First, at this age child require more hands-on activities rather than worksheets. Yes, it will require some little preparation, but the benefits are tremendous. You know why? It is just very simple, the learning process automatic turning into a fun game your child will like. He will barely notice you are teaching, the only thing he will remember is a fun time with you. Sounds great is not it. However, the very best part of hands-on activities is that your child promotes fine motor skills! Do you know that stimulating the fine motor skills, tactile experience stimulates the brain, and your child had better absorb the information?

cognitive development activities

Let stop and talk a little bit more about patterning skills. There are different types of patterns your child can do. The first and very simple one is a consequence pattern. Do not give your child the hard one! Go with simple rules such as ABAB, AABAAB, AABBAABB, ABBABB. That is more than enough for kindergarten-aged kids. However, if you see your child need more advanced practice try the sequence pattern with three components, such as ABCABC, ABBCABBC, and so on.

For this activity, you can use everything around. Got a pack of m&m, let use it before your child will it! Place candies on the table and start to build the pattern. Ask your child what pattern he sees there and let him continue. Remember always asks for the rule and let him explain and justify his answer.

There are more patterns to work on. Grid pattern. What is the grid pattern and why it is so important? It is important as besides the logic and critical thinking it involves spatial perception skills. What elements are missing in the row? We have developed a bunch of themed hands-on activities to practice patterning skills (scroll down for the link).

Pattern Worksheets for Kids


ELA and Cognitive Skills

Now, we will go further in details how to promote cognitive skills in ELA class. First, it is visual skills. Yes! Place the wall pictures and words all around the classroom or home class. Kids need to visualize them every day. The key question here is a language rich class.

Wall Words

How can you use the flashcards at home? I will give an example. A great one. Depends on season or study unit download the set of vocabulary cards. And start to introduce 2-3 words a week. Stick them to the bed wall, so you child can have an easy access to it and have the opportunity to see and read it every day anytime. Now the best part. Does your child do this thing before he goes to bed: I wanna pee, I wanna eat, I wanna drink… Turns out, he is a hungriest and the thirstiest kid on the whole planet. He is asking you for everything just to postpone the sleeping time.

cognitive development activities

Here is a trick. First, slightly move his bed time 15 minutes earlier. Second, putting him a bed slightly remind about the picture he sees on his wall. Ask him what the picture name and what does he know about it. I.e. B – is for blossom in spring, blossom is a flower for the fruit tree. You can tell him some facts, but encourage him to tell you his thoughts. Even! If he told you that the grass is green because the wizard color it, it is totally ok! Do not ruin his imagination. In the future, he will know all the grass facts, but you will never have an opportunity to develop his imagination and creativity.

Imagine you are sitting at work and need to come up with a new idea, or a new way to complete the project… and have you have no idea. Here you go. Imagination let you proceed the information and come up with a creative non-standard idea. Now, encourage your child’s imagination and let him dream. You know, the dreams come true! Moreover, probably you do not see but it is a wizard at the night when you are sleeping coloring all the grass!

Next day, you still trick your child before bedtime. Nevertheless, it is your child is tricking you! Let him make a talk about pictures and cards. His wall has now more and more flashcards. You can go further in details with pictures. I see one flower, how many do you see? This pumpkin is yellow. – No, it is orange! Your child will answer you.

Finally, what do we have here? 15 minutes of fun bedtime talks with your little one, enriching his vocabulary and promote more elaborative thoughts, imposing his language skills and much more! Great isn’t it?

How to Turn Shopping into a Fun Educational Time?

cognitive development activitiesLet go to another one. Shopping… especially grocery shopping. Are you child quietly sitting in a cart while you put all the grocery staff in there? I bet he doesn’t. And you are not able to focus, in one hand you have a milk in your child running and screaming.

I can change your world! Take flashcards with you. Today you are going to have the best shopping experience. Here is a game. Randomly take a card and give it to your child. Ask him to name the word and find the rhyming word. Blossom – awesome! Who will find the rhyming word first? In addition, the grocery shopping is complete two times faster. Now, what? Coming home, you were planning to have some learning activities. Stop, you already did it. Now, you both can fun and do silly things together. The learning is over!

Charade Game for the Family Eve

What else can I add? Charade game! So great, so silly, so much fun! Draw a card and represent the picture. Use sounds, but not words, gesture, and moving. What a great game to promote gross motor skills and coordinationenrich vocabulary and expand the imagination. Love it? I think so.

Tips on Choosing the Right Activity

Here are a few tips for you might consider before choosing any activity:

  • Activities should be challenging but age appropriate. And remember, every child is unique and goes on his own path. What is easy for one child can be hardly completed for another one.
  • Provide enough time for asking questions, answering, and explaining. Ask challenging questions, the questions that develop deeper thinking.
  • Make Association

More Cognitive Development Activities:


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