When a child is initially born, they know nothing. They can’t communicate and they certainly can’t understand what you’re saying. The only way they will learn how to speak and understand their new world around them is by interacting with it (i.e. playing).
Play boosts cognitive development as it teaches children how to make sense of things around them through experimentation. For example, a child may not know that a ball rolls or bounces until they play with it, or that continuously pouring water into a cup means the cup will overflow.
Through play, your child organizes an understanding of their new world around them: which toys make noises and which ones don’t; the differences among shapes and colors; the concept of object permanence (that objects still exist even when out of sight), and more.
Learning Math Skills Through Building
With younger children, building with blocks or other toys can be a good way to practice math skills. You can count the number of blocks used in a particular structure and explain how that number compares to the number of blocks used in another structure.
By measuring different structures, you can help your child learn about length, width, height, and area as well as about fractions when comparing one block to another. When discussing these concepts, you will want to give your child hands-on experience in using a variety of tools such as rulers and tape measures so they can learn how they work and what they measure. Your child might also enjoy estimating how many blocks it will take to build something before you actually begin constructing it. Once you have finished building something together, talk about which shapes fit together best and why that is so.
Younger children (up to 6 years old) are still developing their ability to count accurately. They may skip numbers or miscount objects by counting them several times because they don't understand what "counting" means yet. Children this age might also have difficulty understanding the concept of "zero." It's important that children this age get lots of opportunities to practice counting objects aloud because this helps them develop the abstract skills needed for more complex mathematical thinking later on.
Teaching Social Skills Through Games
Social skills are part of what makes us human. They include empathy, sharing, listening to others, expressing emotions appropriately, and responding to gestures such as a wave or smile from a friend. Socializing is an important part of childhood development. It improves confidence, creates connections with others, and teaches kids how to be successful in school and work environments later in life.
In order for children to learn social skills, they have to have opportunities to practice them with other people—this means giving your child plenty of chances throughout the week to interact with others in safe settings where teachers or you and other parents offer guidance when needed.
Music classes are a great place for kids to learn social skills because they provide many opportunities for young children to interact with peers while learning something new together under the guidance of a teacher who can facilitate interactions that help teach social skills through music games and activities like singing together or playing instruments in unison.
Teaching Science And Nature Through Observational Activities
Another way to get children involved with their natural surroundings is by having them observe different aspects of the world around them. It’s important for kids to have a chance to see how things work, which plants and animals are in their area, what kinds of buildings can be seen from their home, or even just taking a look at the weather outside.
There are many ways for kids to use their senses to learn about nature - check out a book from your local library on birding or stargazing and see if your child has a newfound passion!
The possibilities are endless with this activity. You can give kids binoculars, magnifying glasses, and compasses and encourage them to go on a scavenger hunt through your neighborhood. You can hand your child an old camera and show them how to take photos of their favorite trees in the park. Maybe you want your child’s next project at school to be about geology? Look up some beginner rock identification guides online for free and find some interesting rocks nearby!
Teaching Art Through Creative Expression
When you are working with your child to create art, you are helping them develop on many levels. Art activities engage both sides of the brain, contributing to a child's cognitive development and processing skills. Creativity is also important in developing language skills and expression, as is learning to think outside of the box when it comes to problem solving.
Working on an art project with your child provides a wonderful bonding opportunity that can help the two of you connect in ways that you might not otherwise be able to do. Art projects provide a way for children to express themselves and their feelings without having to speak about them directly.
Art projects also help improve fine motor skills by giving children practice holding things like crayons, markers and paint brushes between their fingers very precisely in order to draw what they want or need onto paper or another canvas.
This kind of hand-eye coordination has been shown time again by researchers everywhere as being crucial in helping prepare young minds for later education such as learning cursive handwriting or typing on a keyboard at school later on down the road when they're older!
When You’re Just Looking For Peace And Quiet
If you’re just looking for peace and quiet, make sure you have a toy or activity that will keep your child occupied. This can include an art project with stickers, a board game that requires reading, or a fidget spinner.
If you want to help develop motor skills, get something that requires physical movement, like crayons and paper, or even markers and coloring books. Keep in mind that some children may require adult supervision when using things such as scissors and glue sticks.
If active play is what you’re after, try things like water balloons (in warm weather), or even simple outdoor games like tag (in cold weather). You can also look for indoor toys that encourage physical activity—like jump ropes or hula hoops.
If creativity is the goal of your planned activity time, consider something like clay modeling (playdough) or painting pictures using different colors of paint. Don't forget about providing creative options outside on rainy days. Jumping in the mud and making snow angels are always fun!
Not All Activity Is Equal In Its Benefit
You’re not alone. All parents struggle with finding the balance between letting their kid sit in front of the screen and trying to keep them engaged with more interactive activities. As a parent, it’s important to remember that some activities are passive and others are interactive:
- Passive activities include watching TV, playing simple video games, or listening to an audio book. They don’t require much thought from your child; rather, these activities occupy your kid.
- Interactive activities are things like doing puzzles, playing board games or reading a book (with you for young children). These kinds of things engage your child actively, helping them learn through interaction.
We’re not saying you should never let your child watch television or play video games — there will be times when you just need a break! Try to ensure that when participating in passive activities, they are viewing/listening to prosocial material. That way, they can see all the things they’re learning during their interactive activities modeled for them!