It is a well- known fact that the brain is one of the most vital parts of the human body. During childhood the brain is still in the developing phase, a lot of things can be done in order to support and enhance the development. Humans are born with more brain cells than needed, so the cells that are used get developed and rest die by retracting. It functions on the principle of “Use it or lose it”. So, it is essential to exercise the brain by providing appropriate stimulation. This stimulation can be achieved through various activities which are mentioned below –
Chess is one of the most popular games in the world. It is very interesting and engaging. One needs to analyze and calculate their moves extensively. The best chess players are known to have very sharp minds. Chess is a continuous learning-based game so, playing it at a young age allows rapid expansion of brain cells or neurons. There have been researches that show an increase in Intelligence quotient (IQ) of those children who play chess regularly. In research done by Rosholm et al in 2017, it was highlighted that the mathematical abilities of children who play chess regularly, were enhanced along with an increase in reasoning(link). Problem-solving skills are also required and exercised while playing chess, it is an extremely important skill that will come handy for the rest of the child’s life. One has to constantly pay attention to the opponent’s moves, this has the indirect effect of focused attention and memory enhancement. A study also reported that both sides of the brain are active during playing chess, which has powerful impacts on the developing brain. The ability to plan is also developed while engaging in the game of chess.
- Reading books
It is one of the most classic ways of engaging a child in order to enhance brain and overall development. It has many benefits. Attention is one of the skills that is acquired while reading, the brain’s ability to sustain itself on one activity for a prolonged duration is extensively developed from a young age. To reach the end of the book the child learns how to develop patience which is an important quality. There is a certain degree of self -control that goes into reading books, a child’s ability to delay gratification becomes a basis for acquiring other skills. For example, a child needs to learn how to sit through all the academic classes before he can have lunch in his break, this requires delayed gratification, self- control as well as patience, which are all developed through reading books. Apart from all these abilities, the language of the child is developed. As compared to watching tv or videos this is a much more complex task that strengthens the neural connections in the brain. The child develops a broad understanding of the world beyond their own experiences as books are of many varieties. Apart from all these many benefits, creativity is developed in children as they learn how to imagine. Developing the habit of reading from a young age has many long- term benefits as well.
- Puzzle Games
Games play an important role in the holistic development of the child while playing the brain is stimulated. It also depends on the types of games that the child is engaged in. The practice of using video games is very common these days and some apps are being used for providing entertainment to children. However, puzzle-based games many benefits in stimulating the brains of young children. These are so beneficial that even in child counseling and special education such activities are included. Puzzle based games require critical thinking, analytical skills, memory, abstract thinking, trial & error, as well as learning course corrections when it has gone wrong. The other benefits are physiological in nature like enhancement of hand-eye coordination and improvement of grasping skills by the fingers, which is important for the child to learn how to write, eventually. These skills are engrained into the child in a very subtle way, indirectly. Once the skills are acquired they become generalized or they can be applied in other, more broader aspects of life. Puzzle based games like Rubik’s cube or mazes are usually brightly colored which also stimulates the brain of a child.
Engaging children in activities that are beneficial from the developmental perspective becomes very crucial to shaping the coming years of the child’s life. There are multifold benefits of planning and choosing the activities thoughtfully. We hope that you can integrate these classic techniques into your child’s routine.