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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Five Non-classroom Activities to Sharpen Your Children's Brain - Part I

By Andrew Loh

All children are different. They have different levels of intellect and brain development. The extent with which they learn is also quite different. In other words, brain development among different children varies largely. Every parent wants to raise children who are smart and intelligent. However, the terms like “intelligence”, “sharp”, “shrewd” and “smart” are relative and a somewhat illusionary. More often, parents tend to link all the above-mentioned terminologies with classroom performance and scholastic ability. Parents also want their children to perform better by scoring good marks and grades. In essence, classroom excellence seems to be the recognized yardstick for parents to measure their children's intelligence.

There is much more to intelligence and smartness than just classroom performance and better grades. Yes, classroom performance is extremely important for a child to develop in professional life. However, there are certain things that are impossible to achieve just by attending classrooms or by scoring better marks and grades. Scholastic abilities help children achieve both professional and personal success. Yet, children also need something that is extra to these abilities. Some children possess much sharper brains that can perform very well in any types of situations be they classroom tests or any challenging situations other than academic ones.

Classroom activities can help your children develop sharper and endowed brains those are academically empowered. However, children also need non-classroom activities that can sharpen their brain in addition to the mundane classroom activities. Many non-classroom activities can help your children develop their brain functions. This articles series highlights five such non-classroom activities that have the capabilities to sharpen brain and streamline learning activities.

Whatever the case, any non-classroom activities chosen should be complete and wholesome in that children should learn a number of useful skills and abilities. Such activities should ensure the following:

  1. Development of cognitive skills and abilities

  2. Enhancement of muscle-eye coordination

  3. Improvement of imagination and visualization

  4. Development of critical thinking skills

  5. Streamlining of linguistic skills

  6. Enhancement of social skills and emotional intelligence

As mentioned before, non-classroom activities not only develop academic skills but also help children become a “wholesome” personality that empowers them with the required life and success skills. Below are five non-classroom activities that help your children sharpen their brain functions.

Brain building through active play by using toys and playthings

Children who fall in the age group of 2 and 10 years need activities that rely on active play apart from the ordinary classroom ones. Stimulating play is a big necessity for growing children especially their infant brains. Brain building toys and playthings can help children develop a series of skills:

  • Better communication and social skills

  • A sense of teamwork

  • Development of cognitive skills

  • Better thinking skills

  • Development of muscle-to-mind coordination

  • Imagination and visualization skills

  • Artistic skills

Child brain development toys can be segregated into numerous categories based on the purpose for which children use them. Some of these toys are given below:

Infant toys: Young toddlers need infant toys for active play. Such toys are very useful in developing primary cognitive, muscle-eye coordination and imagination abilities. Babies simply love toys those are vibrantly colored, those that emit sounds and move. Soft, colorful and smooth toys make young children control their hand and finger movements apart from making rudimentary efforts to identify colors and patterns of the objects.

Creative toys: Creative toys involve action and excitement. They are imaginative in their nature as well. Art and creative toys can help older children develop imagination and visualization skills. Finger paints, colorized modeling clay and crayons are excellent tools to stimulate creativity and artistic abilities.

Building toys: These toys are helpful in enhancing basic cognitive and muscle/eye coordination skills. In addition, they also help children learn the critical thinking skills. Building blocks and plastic snap-it type of toys are very practical and result oriented in enhancing analytic abilities.

Indoor games: Card, board, puzzle and quiz games have the ability to enhance social and cooperation skills. These games are excellent teaching tools as well. Children will learn how to cooperate with other children. In addition, they will also help learn how to compete in an extremely difficult world.

Outdoor play: Sound body and healthy minds are mandatory for all children. Outdoor toys and play items help children get the required daily exercises that eventually lead to enhanced blood flow and brain functions.

Continue to read Five Non-classroom Activities to Sharpen Your Children's Brain - Part II


Child Development

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