5 Brain Boosting Exercises For Kids
90 percent of all brain development occurs by the age of five, so fun mental exercises to help boost brain development and function are important for kids.
Children learn faster through play and practice, but learning doesn’t have to be limited to school. Regular brain-boosting exercises allow the brain to strengthen its wiring each time a behaviour is repeated, thus improving its ability to better perform the same task next time.
Encourage these 5 brain boosting exercises to give your child’s brain a jump start:
1. Concentration game
Depending on the age of your child, put random toys or objects in front of him and give him 30 seconds to memorise them. Then cover them up and see how many objects he can remember. Increase the number of objects as your child’s memory improves, or reduce the time given to memorise them for an extra challenge.
Puzzles are a fantastic way to develop a child’s hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, cognitive skills, fine motor skills, logical reasoning and spatial perception. And there are so many options to choose from, such as jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, Rubik’s cubes, Soduku, scrabble, logic puzzles and tangrams.
3. Memory games
Memory games that add an element at each turn help a child improve concentration and the ability to think quickly on his feet, enhance cognitive functionality, train visual memory and increase attention span. There are many variations of memory games, but the basic principle is the same. For instance, when playing ‘Going to the market’, one person says an object, then the next person repeats that object and then adds another object, and the game continues. The first one to break the chain loses.
4. Physical games
Classic activities such scavenger hunts, hide & seek, playing ball, racing and so on help keep a child’s brain sharp, as these games help your children follow instructions (without actually realising it), improve attention span, increase their spatial awareness and also teach them self-control. Mazes and scavenger hunts also help encourage logical reasoning in children (thus improving a child’s fine motor skills), as well as help improve their problem-solving abilities by forcing them to think out of the box. Through fun play, children indirectly learn at a younger age that if one approach fails, they have to adapt and find another way around the problem (much like adult life).
5. Learn another language
Being bilingual is almost a given for most children these days, but if your child is able to speak a third language, then it helps to better develop the right and left areas of his brain equally. Multilingual children are more likely to be better at overall learning as learning an extra language helps stimulate a child’s prefrontal cortex, which is linked to improved memory.