Brain Training Activities for Young Children

Updated: Jun 28

The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size” – Albert Einstein.

Despite the myth that we use only 10% of our brain, it is still believed that most of us are still struggling to use our mind to their full capacity. It is said that at the age of three, a children’s brain is twice as active as an adult’s brain and at the age of five their brain is able to administer the development process. This being said, there are ways in which their capacity and mental growth can be amplified.


In this article, I will discuss activities that can help with brain training, and then explain the reasoning behind this.


The Memory Game:

This game is perfect as an introduction to brain training exercises. It can also be used for those who have developed brain damage through an accident, for example.

You can make the activity yourself by cutting an A4 piece of paper into decent-sized shapes and adding a design of your choice. If your child loves cars then perhaps drawing illustrations of cars would be appropriate and as it is their prime interest, they will engage in the activity a lot sooner. You could even make it a little more educational by using colours, letters and/or numbers on the cards. As long as it is simple enough for them to understand and clear to visualise, the child will be able to grasp the concept of the game.


Tip: If you are not the arty type, you could always print images off of the internet and glue them onto the squares or even cut them out of magazines. It’s all about imagination and ensuring your child will engage to the best of their ability.


Once the cards have successfully been created, it is simply then a case of mixing them up and placing the images face down onto a table or clear floor space. Some children feel much happier when the game becomes inclusive, and this is definitely one in which you can partake in too.

So, why not get involved and take turns to match the pairs? Who knows, they may end up becoming competitive and before you know it, you’re going head-to-head!

This activity helps with:

  • Ability to sort and classify particular objects.

  • Recognising patterns.

  • Improves their focus and determination to find the pair.

  • Attention to detail.

  • Improves hand-eye coordination when the cards are turned over.

  • Problem-solving: understanding which card creates the pair.

  • Social skills: especially in head-to-head matches.

  • Enhances cognitive abilities: faster-thinking skills.

  • The sensation of satisfaction when all the cards have been successfully paired.

For more games check out this article; https://childhood101.com/short-term-memory-games/




Dot-to-Dot:

This activity appears to be quite simple and although it is, there are still a heap of benefits attached to it. Here at Ducklings we have several free resources online you can download and use at home which can be found at https://www.ducklingspreschool.co.uk/artists. There are other free printable versions online, via https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/dot-to-dot/ and https://www.education.com/worksheets/dot-to-dots/. The latter has the option to choose the printable by their educational grade and/or subject.


Tip: If you are unable to access the internet or in the absence of a printer, you could draw your own and let them colour and connect the dots. Some bargain stores stock the books in the stationary section too!

Why not purchase an adult book of your own or print out a selection of your choice? Together you can connect dots, create pictures and even colour them in!


This activity helps with:


  • Counting: Starting from 1 and progressing until the final digit.

  • Hand-eye coordination: finding the next number in the sequence and physically connecting the dots together to create a pattern.

  • Improves concentration: creating the lines that reveal the correct image.

  • Develops their fine motor skills: holding a pencil.

  • Helps those with developmental disabilities.

  • Cultivates their mathematic and language skills.

  • Aids spatial awareness.

  • Creativity and imagination: creating the image and working out what the picture is of.

  • Sense of fulfilment when the image is completed and even coloured.





Tracing:

This creative technique provides similar benefits to the dot-to-dot activity. The specialised paper can be purchased from a bargain stationery shop as well as the books which usually involve the alphabet. Sometimes the pre-made books have designated lines below the letter and placement dots to help children understand where to place their pencil, in order to re-create the assigned letter.


Tip: There are printable versions online in the form of animals, letters and words via https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/tracing-printables. This webpage includes the option to select special occasions and seasonal pieces too.


This activity helps with:


  • Understanding shapes, symbols, numbers and letters etc.

  • Helps develop fine motor skills: using a pencil.

  • Enhances their drawing ability and understanding of the direction of lines and patterns.

  • Allows them to develop their handwriting skills and even write their own name.

  • Creativity and imagination come into play when they have to understand the picture, word or letter.

  • Problem-solving: working out how to re-create the image.

  • Aids those who have developmental disabilities.

  • Improves their linguistic and mathematic skills.

  • Spatial awareness.

  • Sense of satisfaction when seeing the final piece come together.



Building Blocks:

This activity often goes down well with children, especially those who love to create buildings for their toys or even if they get joy from watching a tower topple to the floor. It is highly entertaining and provides a heap of benefits.


Tip: If you’re unable to get to a local toy store, you can make your own from surplus pieces of wood and toilet and/or kitchen roll tubes. You can even colour them or draw on your own designs including letters and numbers. Sometimes a little colour can attract the child’s attention and help them become more engrossed in the activity.


Why not get stuck in and build that Jenga tower together? – Watch it crash-land to the floor or build an empire for their favourite toys to take residency in. Children love games where they can unleash their never-ending imagination.


This activity helps with:


  • Hand-eye coordination: understanding how to create a tower without knocking down the previously laid blocks.

  • Teaches mathematics and engineering skills.

  • Spatial awareness.

  • Creativity and imagination: what to build and how to make it look like their ideation.

  • Problem-solving: knowing where to place the particular block and how.

  • Increases their physical, mental and social growth.

  • Enhances their cognitive capabilities.

  • Sense of fulfilment.


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