Your daily activities help cognitive development both consciously and unconsciously. Whether children use logic to sort, classify, or create patterns, or creativity and language to acquire new knowledge, I hope to help you diversify your activities by breaking down this aspect of development. Here is a list of its components which includes clear and simple examples.
- Sorting: the ability to divide and group objects according to precise criteria. Color, size, and shape are common criteria.
- Classification: the ability to create groups or families with sub-categories. For example, classifying toys could mean dividing them into two groups, indoor toys and outdoor toys. Food can be classified according to the four food groups.
- Creating series: the ability to create logical series. For example, objects can be placed in ascending or descending order, stories can be recreated, etc.
- Creativity: the capacity to imagine. Inventing stories and finding solutions are great examples.
- Acquisition of new knowledge: learning to count, recognizing colours, etc.
Here are activity suggestions and the material required to develop this sphere:
ACTIVITIES FAVOURING COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
- Telling stories and asking questions afterwards
- Constantly speaking to babies. Describing your every move.
- Initiate interaction by imitating babies' sounds
- Play explorer. Reproduce familiar sounds such as animals.
- Invent stories with children
- Visit the library
- Refer to books to answer children's specific questions about a subject
- Memory game
- Find rhyming words
- Invite a guest to speak about his/her profession
MATERIAL FAVOURING COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
- Photo album
- Tape recorder
- Surprise box
- Audio cassettes or CD's
- Pencils and crayons of all kinds
- Picture book
- Musical instruments
- Construction or building games
- Board games
- Manipulation games (Mr. Potato Head, lacing, etc.)
- Sound games
- Plastic, felt, or cardboard letters
- Typewriter or computer keyboard
- Material to create patterns
- Objects which fit into each other
- Craft material
- Recycled material (toilet paper roll, Kleenex boxes, etc.)
- Scientific material
- Computer science material (CD-Roms, Internet, etc.)
- Objects which can be used to pour and transfer from one container to another
- Modeling dough
- Magazines and catalogues
- Telephone (real or pretend)
My goal is not to give you an exhaustive course about this sphere of development but I hope to give you tools to better understand it. I feel this can be helpful for planning your activities and give you ideas. To begin, here is a breakdown of psychomotor development:
- Sensorial and perceptive organization: the five senses. Touch, taste, smell, hearing, and seeing.
- Global motor skills: posture, non-locomotor movement (throwing a ball), locomotor movement (running and jumping).
- Fine motor skills: activities which solicit small muscles in the hands (drawing, lacing, buttoning, etc.)
- Prehension: capacity to seize objects with our hands.
- Lateralization: involves the two sides of the body (left and right).
- Temporal and spatial organization: capacity to orient oneself in space and in time (near and far, present and future).
- Dissociation: moving only one part of the body at a time with a great deal of control (only your index finger for example).
- Coordination: a series of movements a child is able to perform (ride a bicycle, pedal, and hold the handlebars).
- Muscle tone: capacity to contract and relax muscles.
- Balance: hold a stable position for a few seconds.
Once again, here are two lists which can be very useful.
ACTIVITIES FAVOURING PSYCHOMOTOR DEVELOPMENT
- Obstacle courses
- Ball games (rolling and throwing)
- Different types of races (backwards, with obstacles, relay, etc.)
- Imitating animals
- Walking on hiking trails or pedestrian paths
- Building blocks
- Naming body parts
- Stop and start games (statue, musical chairs, Simon says, etc.)
- Exploration games (hide different objects in sand, mud, Jell-O, etc.)
- Hide and seek
- Treasure hunt
MATERIAL FAVOURING PSYCHOMOTOR DEVELOPMENT
- Water table
- Jumping ball
- Blocks (different sizes)
- Various sizes of cardboard boxes
- Hoola hoops
- Jumping ropes
- Large vehicles which can be pushed, pulled, or rode upon
- Pull toys
- Water or sand toys (shovel, bucket, moulds, etc.)
- Stacking toys
- Lacing toys
- Different sizes of containers with screw-on covers
- Small cars
- Bowling game
- Bubble solution and wand
- Psychomotor structure for climbing (ladder, slide, etc.)
- Modeling dough
- Finger painting
- Crayons, chalk
Thank you to Geneviève Beaudet for her precious collaboration for this text.