Curiosity is an important ingredient to learning and growth development in your child.
As a parent, you can lean into this curiosity, and help to encourage it. At the same time, there are activities you can do with your kids that help stimulate their minds and sharpen their growth. Here are four activities that you can encourage in your child (and even take part in) to help stimulate their growth.
You often hear “start them young” as common advice from elders to raising children. This applies to anything you want your child to be good at in the future, whether sports, dance, or academics, just to name a few. The intent is to nurture their curiosities at a young age, which develops other skills that might be useful for daily life.
One of the most precious memories of kids who grew up pre-Internet is having an imaginary friend. Daydreaming and pretending are open-ended activities that sharpen their imagination to provide their own amusement.
Janice Davis of learning4kids.net describes imaginative play as “when children are role playing and are acting out various experiences they may have had or something that is of some interest to them.” According to Scholastic.com, language development, social, and thinking skills are some of the benefits of imaginative play.
This kind of activity allows them to portray real-life happenings in a monitored environment and without having to actually go through them. This gives the opportunity to gauge what they’d do in certain situations. These benefits “foster mental growth by creating opportunities for trying out new ideas, ways of thinking, and problem solving.”
Chances are, just sitting down with your children and asking them specific questions about their play time will open up this world to you. Make time to engage your children with their pretend friends and games, and even join in to further stimulate this time.
Working with Your Hands
Engaging in activities that allow kids to work with their hands further stimulates their creativity and imagination, along with developing their hand eye coordination. Woodworking isn’t such a common activity associated with kids’ play. Done wrong, it can open up a lot of risk, especially with the tools that require some parental supervision. However, there are kid-friendly woodworking projects that are easy, fun, and safe for naturally curious (and even clumsy) children.
Besides, Tasmanian Catholic Education Commission’s paper titled Managing Risk in Play Provision identifies risk and challenge as “an essential part of children’s play,” according to earlylearningservices.com.au. “Managing that risk is the key to providing opportunities that support growth and development and keep children safe from unreasonable risk and injury. The balancing of these two is vital for our children’s health and development.”
This will teach him or her not just to have respect for the tools, but also patience to follow instructions and follow through with a project until they finish an output. Woodworking also engages kids’ creativity, letting them define their taste and what’s artfully beautiful to them.
Childcarelounge.com lists the following as some life skills learned from woodworking:
Hand eye coordination
Independence and self-esteem
Dexterity and fine motor
Acquaintance with tools and wood
Comparing and measuring
These projects allow you to directly interact with your children while they develop these skill sets.
Athletics and Sports
Athletics and sports have long provided a fantastic venue for kids to get fit while also learning to push themselves. There are many sports that your child can engage in, but one of note to highlight is the sport of soccer, which is growing in popularity.
From observation, the vigorous physical exertion required in soccer is far more challenging than regular exercise. Donald T. Kirkendall, in his book Soccer Anatomy, explains how whole body training is important because “players will jump, hop, skip, leap, and cut at a moment’s notice, often without any conscious thought at the time to the action or reaction. ”
Physically, the training for soccer is enough activity to keep kids fit and healthy. It hones physical skills like flexibility, hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and strength.
Soccer is also a team sport, which is fantastic for children to learn how to interact and engage with others. There are many benefits of team sports, such as the life skills and experience gained that form and shape how your children work together and with others in their future. Soccer teaches discipline, work ethic, good competition, concentration and focus, time management, and motivation.
It also cultivates confidence, self-esteem, and possibly leadership skills beyond the games and training. Playing such a sport that uses up energy physically requires balance with your emotional and mental states as well. Kids will learn a lot about themselves as they strive to get better at soccer.
As a parent, you can join in your kid’s athletics by encouraging them to play, even when they’re having a tough time. You can go out with them in spare time and help with extra practice sessions, along with encouraging them in the areas they can learn from the sport. Many parents find their calling in coaching their kids team, and find a great deal of satisfaction in this area.
Puzzles and Games
No single activity is better able to develop a child’s cognitive skills as much as puzzles and games. Cognitive skills, defined as the ability of an individual to perform the various mental activities most closely associated with learning and problem solving, arm your kid with the mental makeup required for the future.
Puzzles and games are fantastic at stimulating children’s brains, and they are easy for parents to jump in and participate. Your child’s brain is the main muscle used to solve the mystery that are common in almost all kinds of puzzles.
Abstract thinking is a skill often used to figure out the problem at hand. It allows kids to adapt their thinking to come up with various solutions and deductive reasoning lands them a decision that eventually solves the whole piece.
There are different kinds of puzzles and game, ranging from chess to rubik’s cube to jigsaw puzzles and word puzzles, among a few. Each of these puzzles and games fall under different genres. Depending on the game, puzzles can incorporate various mental skills such as mathematical skills, increased vocabulary, photographic memory, and more.
Out of all the activities listed, this is perhaps the easiest one for parents to engage in. Make time to sit down and play specific games with your children, and engage with them through puzzles and brain games that stimulate their thoughts. Each child is different, so spend some time trying out a variety of options to see which types your kid gravitates towards.
As a parent, you can be purposeful in the activities you encourage your child to take part in. Different activities stimulate different things in your kid, ranging from developing their imagination to hand eye coordination to fitness to their minds. And, each activity gives you the chance to be a bigger part of their lives at the same time.