Play is essential to your preschoolers development, and it is no different for reaching cognitive development milestones. Every child develops these skills at their own pace though, so be careful not to compare them to what other children are doing. Private speech, or talking to themselves, is something that you have probably noticed your preschooler doing. This is a key to building strong cognitive development skills and should not be discouraged.
DEFINITION OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
When your preschooler is participating in activities that promote cognitive development, they are learning how things work, solving problems, and creating. Your preschooler learns best through play, so there is no need to drill them on letter sounds, shapes, or other memorization skills.
5-YEAR-OLD COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT MILESTONES
- Counts 10 or more items
- Identifies most, if not all, letters
- Knows what household items are used for
- Understands basic concepts of time
- Begins to understand the difference between right and wrong
- Knows what it means to divide something in half
- Engages in private speech
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
Promoting cognitive development in your preschooler will be beneficial to their overall development and success throughout their life. It is important to teach children how to think critically and solve problems on their own. Here are some play ideas that support cognitive development.
BUILDING AND CREATING
Provide your preschooler with a variety of open-ended materials to build and create with. Recycled materials are a great way to give your preschooler opportunities to create freely, which lets them make their own decisions, plan, and experiment with how things work. Let them go through the recycling bin, or leave a box of safe recyclables out for them, and let their imagination go to work. You can also encourage them to create new things by making fun challenges. Challenge them to create something that can float or something that is as tall as they are. Most importantly, leave all of the decisions up to them and have fun!
PLAY A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
Children can learn a lot through music. When learning how to read music and play instruments children are improving their working memory, developing the ability to focus better, and boosting math skills. Children learn through music from a very early age, and you may be surprised at how well they do learning how to play real instruments.
Start simple with percussion instruments to learn rhythm and then progress to something slightly more complicated like a xylophone and teaching them how to read music. Children love to experiment and create things too, so having them make their own instruments would be a fun way for them to explore how instruments work.
Pretend play is probably the absolute best way to support your child’s cognitive development. Through pretend play they are able to practice problem solving with their peers, make connections between spoken and written language, and think creatively. When they are engaged in pretend play independently they are also likely to use private speech. Private speech is self-directed talk or thinking out loud. As your child gets older this will become their internal speech.
Seeing how your child grows over time is fascinating to watch. Their cognitive skills have grown leaps and bounds from when they were an infant to age five. Help your 5-year-old reach their cognitive development milestones by providing engaging play experiences for them and lots and lots of conversations.