Cognitive skills enable individuals to learn and to understand the world around them. Memory, concentration, perception and logical thinking are cognitive skills. While cognitive skills are natural, these skills must also be developed to function well. Perception, for example, develops in accordance with the constraints of the natural environment, personal experience and educational influence. Several activities help an individual enhance her perceptual skills.
Sport games enable individuals to develop their perception in coordination with associated motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination. Other perceptual skills that are enhanced in sports include sight-distance and time-distance perception. Kicking or throwing a ball, for example, helps the individual develop an understanding that the size of the ball will appear smaller as it spins into the distance. Similarly, the individual learns to perceive the amount of force needed to throw or kick a ball a specific perceived distance, such as across a field.
Puzzles require the cognitive ability to perceive patterns and fit shapes that match together accordingly. Young children benefit from board puzzles with simple pictures and large pieces. As the child grows, the number of pieces in the puzzle, complexity of shapes and image can increase to challenge perceptual ability. Word sleuths and crosswords are puzzles that link visual perception and language, including vocabulary recall.
Treasure or scavenger hunts encourage development of object recognition skills along with map reading and direction following skills. Seeking objects, especially in competition with other scavengers, requires quick object recognition and concentration. A scavenger hunt may also provide word clues that link critical thinking with perceptive observation.
Computer and video games enhance spatial perception. Some games also encourage development of fluid intelligence, in which the mind is capable of observing a situation and developing a proper response or reaction with little prior knowledge. Computer games aid in the development of aural perception as well as logical intelligence.
- Audioblox: Four Cognitive Skills for Successful Learning
- Professional Support Center Western Australia, After School Fact Sheet: Cognitive Play
- Child-Development-Guide.com: Cognitive Development From 4-6 Years
- GameFWD.org; FWD News: Research Shows Games Strengthen Cognitive Skills; Nathalie Coron; February 2010
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images Sean Murphy/Lifesize/Getty Images BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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