The moment your baby is born, their brain starts processing all the sensory information they receive all around them. All the things they see, hear, touch, and taste help them gain an understanding of the world.
As they develop, this information helps them to develop and improve their cognitive skills, such as thinking, memory processing, understanding, and communication. With each passing year, kids will reach different milestones in their cognitive development.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can help them improve their cognitive skills through active learning. Let’s explore some of them now.
Examples of Cognitive Skills
From the moment your child is born, they will reach different milestones as their brain develops and their understanding of the world grows. This often starts with using the senses, which is why babies love to touch everything!
As they grow up, they will develop communication, movement, and critical thinking skills as they learn to interact with their environment and express how they feel.
Here are some examples of cognitive skills:
- Recognizing faces
- Responding to names
- Hold and manipulate objects
- Learning to crawl and walk
- Pretending and playing different roles
- Naming objects in a book
- Counting to ten
- Listening to stories
- Asking “Why?” and displaying curiosity
Here are some fun ways to help your child improve their cognitive skills.
Let Your Baby Explore Their Senses
Babies learn primarily through their senses in the first couple of years: touch, hearing, smell, taste, and sight. Give your baby a range of safe objects to touch and explore — not that you’ll have much choice when they try to swipe your food, phone, or whatever else you have in your hand.
Mix up different textures and shapes so your baby can explore other senses. This helps them build up a mental representation of the world.
Play with Everyday Items
As your child grows, you can incorporate everyday items into play. They can match lids to different pots, or you can use the mirror to develop their association with varying parts of the body and emotions. Make it fun by pulling funny faces or getting them to touch the parts of the body you call out.
Have a Sing-along
Kids love listening to songs and singing along, mainly when they include movements. The movements help them coordinate, and the words help them make associations. Many songs and nursery rhymes are great for learning vocabulary.
You can also turn car journeys into karaoke sessions by playing songs they like and singing aloud. I still fondly remember singing Lionel Ritchie songs on long car journeys with my parents.
Stories are a great way to develop communicative and creative skills. As they get older, they can start visualizing scenes using words and pictures, imagining how the character may feel and what it would be like to be in that place, time, or space. It also enables them to develop empathy for other people.
It is also great for building up their relationship skills. It is a fun time to spend with parents, grandparents, siblings, or schoolmates. So, take the time to ask questions and make the journey interactive.
Role-playing and going on adventures to far-off lands provide kids with an excellent opportunity to use their imagination and understand different perspectives. When they choose to be a doctor or a hero on a quest, they get to develop problem-solving skills, increase language development, and use new vocabulary.
Go For Trips to Interesting Places
As your child gets older, they will start to articulate their curiosity for certain subjects, and there is no better way to explore this than by giving them “hands-on” experiences, visiting museums, libraries, historical sites, and animal parks to let your child explore and see new environments.
Ask questions along the way to see what they have learned and what areas they would like to explore more.
Active learning is a fun process and can involve the entire family. Each new milestone reached is exciting as they learn to walk, talk, and interact with the world in new ways. It is essential to know that all kids develop at different speeds and may take longer to reach certain milestones, so there is no need to panic if you feel that they are not developing their cognitive skills at the same level as other kids.
Call your board-certified pediatrician in Arvada today to book an appointment if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s cognitive skills and development.