Games promote children's learning more than flashcards
Find out which games are great to improve your child's cognitive skills.
Stimulating cognitive development in your toddler is something that most parents stress over. Many parents invest in flashcards or even enrichment classes and brain gyms to give their child the edge mentally. Traditional resources such as early reading, language tapes and flashcards are the go-to resource for parents looking to boost their toddler’s cognitive development. Yet, growing research has pointed to a more effective brain booster – playing games.
According to Megan McClelland, an early-childhood-development researcher at Oregon State University who has led much of this research, “Play is one of the most cognitively stimulating things a child can do.” The edge that simple games such as Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light gives is that they test the child’s ability to pay attention, focus, remember and follow rules and exhibit self-control which builds their executive function skills.
Games also focus on the how of learning instead of the what is being learnt. This process of how to learn gives the child the skills to learn new information and is indicative of future long term success in school.
This party favourite is a great way for children to learn through play by picking up skills on how to follow instructions and rules as well as to concentrate. To challenge your child further, you can play a variation of the game where kids are required to do the opposite of what Simon Says, for example if ‘Simon Says touch the sky’ kids would have to touch the ground. This version of the game helps develop your child’s mental flexibility and self-control.
Singing multiple rounds of a favourite nursery rhyme such as ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’ or ‘Patty Cake’ while clapping to the rhythm requires extreme focus and concentration. It can also help improve a child’s memory and mental flexibility.
The best part of games is that children learn through play and we can assure you that this will build a healthy relationship with the process of learning. Getting children to view play and learning as fun, will help them to embody the very skills learnt through game play.
Great news for parents with an arsenal of games and not many flashcards stored at home as research has shown that a child’s ability at age four to pay attention and complete a task, the very skills learned in game play, were the greatest predictors of whether he or she finished college by age 25.
So next time your child requests to play a round of freeze tag or catch in the backyard instead of doing his KUMON homework, don’t nag or moan about his lack of academic motivation. Instead rejoice and take the opportunity to let your children learn through play.
Do you agree that children learn through play? Did your children learn through play or generic flashcards instead? Tell us about it!
Not sure how to play ‘Simon Says’? Check out this video for a great example of a game of ‘Simon Says’.