Improve Brain Performance With 5 Dollar Tree Items
Cognitive skills are your brain’s core skills that enable you to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. An intelligent child will struggle when one or more of these skills is off-balance. While a cognitive skills assessment is recommended to determine the balance of your child’s cognitive skills, generally, the more balanced the skills are, the more efficient your brain performs. With the help of a few simple products from The Dollar Tree, you can help your child improve their cognitive skills.
5 Products to Improve Cognitive Skills
In Kyra’s many years of experience working with children of varying cognitive abilities, a few stand-out products have made a measurable difference. As a parent, try purchasing any of these items from The Dollar Tree as a proactive way to help your child improve their cognitive function.
1. Color by Number Coloring Book– This addresses the following skills: attention, visual-spatial skills, visual analysis, and visual-motor integration skills. A weak child in one or more of these areas would find this activity challenging and avoid it. They may say something like, “This is boring.” That is code for, “This is hard.” A child who struggles with these skills would not meet their optimal performance in the classroom. Visual-spatial skills help kids maintain the correct place on a page (this impacts reading and test-taking). Visual analysis is the visual discrimination of letters and numbers. A child weak in this area may struggle with sound to symbol association which impacts pre-reading, writing, or spelling. Visual-motor integration uses our eyes and hands in a coordinated manner to perform tasks such as copying letters or numbers, forming shapes, or copying patterns. A weakness in this area can cause a child to struggle with coloring in the lines, tracing, writing, copying from the board, tying shoes,
2. Puzzles– The Dollar Tree has a wide variety, ranging from simple to complex puzzles. If your child is not a fan of puzzles, try starting with an easier one and advancing as they get more comfortable. Puzzles challenge some kids due to weakness in memory, visual perception, attention, sequencing, or critical thinking skills. Puzzles help develop these skills, which transfer into the classroom.
3. Dice and a Timer– Dice are great for practicing addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The timer helps improve the speed of task completion. Kids with slow processing skills become anxious when they hear “Timed test.” The way to help make them comfortable with being timed is to practice. Kids need to learn their baseline task completion speed and then try to improve it. For example, you can start by having your child complete ten problems and get a baseline time, then practice trying to beat the time. The timer can also be used for completing tasks around the house; for example: see if your child can complete a job within a specific time frame and offer a reward if they complete it faster. The more they practice, the faster the speed.
4. Extreme Dot to Dot– An excellent activity for focus and attention. You can not complete this task without the ability to attend to paper. Parents always ask how their child with ADHD can focus and attend video games for hours but can’t concentrate for ten minutes on school work. The short answer is that you are measuring two different skills, but the longer answer can be addressed in a separate blog. However, some kids need to practice attending activities other than what is easy. An extreme dot-to-dot is an excellent way of practicing. If this is genuinely challenging, set a timer for five minutes. Have them work on it until the timer goes off. Gradually increase the time as they master the minutes and lose themselves in the activity.
5. Brain Busters Card Game– these come in various trivia topics such as space, dinosaurs, sports, pets, and ocean life. Try keeping a set for in the car and the house. I love incorporating trivia into a daily routine. It’s an easy way to learn fun facts, and it is a great way to test long-term memory skills. For example, start your mornings with a Fun Fact Trivia, and end your day seeing who in your family remembers the answer. You can build on these skills by seeing who remembers yesterday’s trivia before introducing the next skill.
Addressing Cognitive Skills
Small steps can significantly impact cognitive skills with consistency and intention. It’s essential to look for areas that appear hard for your child and challenge them to improve. No one wants to watch their child struggle, and it’s easy to gravitate towards the things they like to do. However, I think it is our job as parents to help our kids grow. Don’t ask your child if they want to do something that you know is hard for them; have it become a part of their day and engage with them to help them see it through. It is important to note that some children have significant weaknesses in the areas mentioned above and need more than just practice. If you try these activities and you don’t see an improvement, it is recommended to seek outside assistance.
Benefit from Expert Coaching
With over 30 years of experience working with children and their families, Kyra Minichan’s gift is in simplifying the complex issues of your child. Kyra will help your family take the specific issues affecting your child and find a unique, custom-fit solution for forward movement for children as young as three and as old as college-aged. If you are interested in exploring your child’s strengths and weaknesses, sign up for a free 10-minute consultation. Schedule a free consultation today.