Ten activities to improve your Toddler’s development!

Benefits of playing with Jigsaw Puzzles and Lego Blocks


Among others, a common childhood past time was spending hours creating, immersed in an imaginary world with little building Lego Blocks. Nowadays, video games and computers are the highlight of this generation’s children, and as a result we see less children playing with board games and more children spending time cruising the internet.

Studies have shown that spatial forms of play such as puzzles and board games are associated with the development of cognitive skills. Getting your children involved as frequently as possible in board games and puzzles help develop spatial reasoning skills, critical to the foundation of their future. How so? Simple cognitive tasks;  assembling furniture, loading a dishwasher, parallel parking, traversing through a busy parking lot; and even more so in building basic STEM thought process (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields). It’s problem solving at its’ finest!

Here’s a list of 10 different activities to enhance cognitive development at home OR while you’re out and about with your children!

  1. Matching: Advancing from cards and pictures, you can take the matching idea all over the house. The focus now is on objects that are the same.
  2. Stringing Beads: Beyond the ability to string beads or pasta, the activity is now about making jewelry. Your child can end up with a necklace and/or a bracelet to wear. These can be made out of store-bought beads, the home equivalent of plain pasta, or pasta dipped in food coloring. Other ideas for stringing are Cheerios, popcorn, and cranberries.
  3. Detective: This one is great for those times you are waiting. You can do this at home, in a restaurant, in a doctor’s office, or at any place where you have unexpected time to pass.
  4. Numbers: Beginning skills in counting, adding, subtracting, and dividing can become a part of everyday conversations.
  5. Sorting: Choose category pairs like things that happen during the day and things that happen at night, food and drinks, men and women, boys and girls, indoor and outdoor, and more. Then begin finding pictures for a selected category pair. After you have at least about three to five in each category, sort the pictures.
  6. Flash Cards: Turn printed family photos into a sturdy “flash card” game to help your child learn the names and faces of near and distant relatives
  7. Play games that combine singing and moving-for example ‘If your happy and you know it clap your hands’
  8. Magazine Scavenger Hunt: Together, you and your kids come up with a list of things to find in the magazines. Each team of kids races through a magazine, tearing out pictures that are on the list!
  9. Introduce Organizing: As you put things in their labeled bins and drawers, turn the process into a guessing game
  10. Pin-up Pictures: Keep pictures of friends and family on a bulletin board in your child’s room to develop word association and improve memory. Write people’s names on sticky notes (include titles such as “aunt,” “uncle,” and “cousin”) and put them at the bottom of each photo.

To find more ideas of innovative educational games, check out http://www.education.com.


By: Melanie Carlin, B.A. Sociology