October 12, 2013
As parents, we all want to help our children be their personal best. Beyond daily reading and electronic learning aids, there are number of traditional, but highly effective, methods that when used consistently can help nurture brain function and intelligence.
Rhythmic Play - Skipping, clapping games, jacks, jumping rope, dribbling, are all examples of rhythmic play that require the use of both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This is important because reading requires similar coordination between the brain hemispheres. Occupational therapists often teach rhythmic motion skills like skipping to reinforce connections between the two hemispheres of the brain as means to use these connections for reading.
Rhyming Games -Rhyming games can be played vocally or combined with pictures or flash cards to develop vocabulary, picture recognition, memory, matching and sequential associations.
Chess – Probably be the most documented traditional tool to increase intelligence and logical reasoning. Even Alfred Binet, the inventor of the first widely-used IQ test, studied chess as a means to increase visual memory, as well as abstract and concrete imagination. Since Binet’s time, chess has been found to also sharpen logical reasoning.
Tangrams – Another oldie but goodie. Tangrams are Chinese puzzles made of six triangles of varying sizes and one square. The shapes can be used to create shapes or more traditionally, to be arranged to fit in a predetermined shape. Beyond simple building blocks, tangrams can help children learn shapes, develop spatial rotation skills, problem solving and encourage a feeling for shapes and geometric relationships.
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