Cognitive Development in Children
Learning how to read and write is an important stage in the development of the child, the effectiveness of which depends on his general cognitive abilities. There are cases when the difficulties in reading are due to the fact that the child quickly forgets the meaning of the read, could not connect the letters in syllables, syllables in words, etc.
Therefore, the general cognitive development of a child in preschool age is a necessary condition for his or her successful school learning, including learning how to read.
Let’s learn some games and exercises for the memory, thinking processes, and attention development of the preschool children.
How to Develop the Memory of a Preschooler
The children’s need to remember the material can be stimulated primarily in the process of games, as well as household tasks, and in special classes in kindergarten. Faced with the necessity to remember something, the child begins to look for ways to remember.
Children usually find it easier to memorize the material in connection with the actions, images, because their visual memory dominates over other types of memory. Considering that, it is important not to overload the preschooler with a lot of verbal information. Learning short poetry for children and counting-out rhymes by heart or reading and retelling short stories and tales is more than enough.
“What’s missing?” game. To play the game you need 3 to 7 small items (depending on the age of children), for example, small animal figures.It is better to play individually or in a group of no more than three children. Figures are lined up in a row, each is called and discussed. Then the child is asked to close his eyes, and the adult quietly removes one figure. In the example of animals game task for the child may look like this:
“Look who is missing? Who is left?”. The child should remember all figures which were shown, and determine which figure is missing. This game is suitable for children from three years old.
“Remember and name” exercise. To perform this exercise, you need to find a picture, for example, with playing children. The child looks at the picture, names the objects on the picture and describes them. After that, the picture is hidden, and the child is asked the question: “Remember what you saw in the picture?” If there are difficulties, you can help the child asking additional questions. For children from 4 years old.
“What’s in the bag?” game. It requires a small bag and 3 – 8 small objects e.g., a ball, a bell, a pencil, an apple. By looking at the objects, the child comes up with associations, for example, a ball looks like the sun, a pencil – like a stick. After that, all the items are going in the bag, and the child is asked to name the objects in the bag by its definitions: the sun – a ball, a stick – a pencil and so on. For children from 4 years.
The Logical Thinking Development
An ability to establish logical links between objects and to notice cause and effect chains is an important condition for the full intellectual development of the child. Thinking processes allow children to learn the world around, to learn at school, to acquire various skills, including the ability to read.
Usual daily communication with the child and his involvement in different activities are the main preconditions for the development of thinking processes. Additional games and exercises will help to improve the operations and facilitate the absorption of new learning material in the future.
“The 4th Extra” game. Find an irrelevant image in the row.
“Find a Pair” game. Find a pair to the object, establish the connection between several objects (by purpose or meaning).
“Association” game. Children are invited to continue the semantic series, try to name the last word.
A wolf – a rabbit, a cat – …
Quick – quicker, slow – …
A fox – a little fox, a wolf -…
A squirrel – nuts, a bear – …
A man – a house, a mole – …
A forest – trees, a field – …
A coat – Winter, shorts – …
The Sea – water, land – …
Water – a tap, light – …
A teacher – a school, a tutor – …
“Continue the pattern” game. The child is given a card with a certain sequence of geometric shapes and asked to determine the pattern and independently continue it. For example, a circle – a square – a circle – a square: what is next? Gradually, the patterns are getting more difficult, in terms of the color, size, number of figures in the pattern, etc.
“Ridiculous” game. Look at the pictures and discuss with the child what actually exists in real life and what does not. Option for the game: who can find more ridiculous things.
Solving puzzles and riddles are other examples of useful exercises for the development of children’s thinking processes.
Computer games may also help develop thinking. For example, Minecraft is really an educational game: it develops spatial thinking, mathematical and logical abilities, involves solving various problems by building algorithms.
How to Develop the Attention
Attention is a mental process that is present in all cognitive tasks, so it ensures the success of the overall intellectual activity of the child. The following games are recommended for children over 5 years old.
“Find and cross out” game.
Special tables can be used for this task, but the old magazines are also quite suitable.
Within 5 minutes children cross out any letter in the text, for example, “A” or any geometric figure. The number of found letters, figures are counted. The exercise can be complicated by a few conditions, for example: cross the circle, encircle the square.
“Don’t say “Yes” and “No” game.
A child is asked to answer several questions. A preschooler can answer in different ways, but he or she has to follow one rule: not to use forbidden words (for example, “Yes”, “No”, “Black” and “White”, etc.). An adult asks questions that imply the use of a forbidden word, for example: “What color is the doctor’s robe?”. The child must answer with the rule of the game in mind. When someone makes a mistake, the roles are reversed. The game should start with only one forbidden word, gradually introducing others.
“Find the differences” game.
In order to play the game, you need to prepare a pair of pictures containing from 5 to 15 different elements. A child is invited to look carefully at the pictures and find 5 (6,7 or more) differences. The winner is the one who found all of them.
There is an unlimited amount of games. Every parent and teacher can create their own games for the further cognitive development of the child. The main task of adults is to maintain and stimulate curiosity and cognitive activity of children, encourage their interest in different areas of life, to feed the need for knowledge.
The games and tasks mentioned above can be adapted according to the preferences of the children.