Kids play naturally. But as a parent, you often wonder how you can make them really think and test their brains. Well, it turns out that gifts could help. Certain presents are not only a lot of fun to play around with, but also teach your children new cognitive skills.
Lego is like brain food for young children. That’s because they have to compose something big from many small pieces, working out how everything fits together. Lego is both procedural and creative. Some playsets require kids to follow a set of instructions and orientate all the pieces in the right way – it’s a lot of fun. Other sets promote creativity because they allow children to experiment with different designs. Both are important skills to know going forward.
Colouring books are another great option, particularly for younger children. It introduces them to the world of art and allows them to generate attractive results quickly. They don’t have to learn how to paint a scene from scratch, which is a big ask for any child. As they grow and develop, you can continue feeding their love of art by supplementing it with other presents, such as watercolour sets, easels and more.
Brain Training App
Brain training was popular a few years ago. It promised to help individuals make smarter and better decisions, just by performing generic calculations on their devices. Over time, it fell out of favour a little. Some researchers challenged whether it could really make a difference. But that hasn’t stopped the industry or its customers from benefiting from it. Brain training is here to stay. This gift might seem a little unusual for young children, but it’s not. In fact, it’s actually one of the best ways to get them thinking. It’s so accessible and they’ll soon get the hang of it. It’s a great way to make productive use of screen time.
On a similar theme, you might decide to invest in a puzzle book. These books contain all sorts of quizzes and problems that help to make your child’s thinking more expansive. Puzzle books teach a variety of reasoning skills, both verbal and nonverbal. Kids must learn how to do word searches, solve crosswords and find their way through mazes. Eventually, if you have a creative child, you’ll notice that they start creating their own puzzles for you and others to solve.
Personalised Map Prints
Personalised map prints are a great option for children who love to study the world. Maps help children translate the messiness of their geographical location into a visual image they can work with. Over time, you’ll notice that their map reading skills improve dramatically. Eventually, their spatial awareness gets better too and they could be the ones providing directions in the car, not you.
Wooden Block Brain Teasers
You can also help your child improve their spatial reasoning by giving them wooden block brain teasers. These are just collections of three-dimensional wooden blocks that fit together in a predefined pattern. The pattern is difficult to discern and requires children to really test their ability to model objects in three-dimensions in their minds.
Conversational Cheat Sheets
Kids can sometimes find it challenging to start conversations off the cuff with older people, but that’s mainly because of inexperience. What’s more, it’s something that they can learn to do with the right support. A great idea is to get your child a conversational cheat sheet. These are essentially manuals that provide quick conversation starters that kids can use for any situation. It helps bring them out of their shells.
Research shows that classical music enhances brain function and makes people smarter. It’s not always popular among children, but that doesn’t matter. You can introduce it subtly in specific situations, such as when you’re dining together as a family. You can then offer your child a CD of their own that they can play whenever they like.
For kids, the world is a big, strange place with many unknowns. Therefore, it is often a good idea to give them resources to learn about it in a fun way. For instance, David Attenborough’s Life DVD set is a wonderful introduction to nature and all its wonders and horrors.
If you’re still stuck for ideas, you can always get your kids some new socks. But not any ordinary socks – geeky socks with equations and numbers on them. Images will cause children to wonder what they mean and the relevance that they have to their lives.