List of Creative Physical Activities for Cognitive Development

Written by lauren reinhard
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List of Creative Physical Activities for Cognitive Development
Encouraging physical activity helps to promote cognitive development in infancy through childhood. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Cognitive development in children is the development of the ability to think, problem solve, reason, understand concepts and process information. Children's cognitive development plays a large role in forming their ability to cope with the world around them when they are grown-ups. There have been many studies linking physical activity to a child's cognitive development. Through helping your child through some simple physical activities, you can assist them in strengthening their cognitive development early in their lives.

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An infant needs stimulation in cognitive development that helps her to begin to develop her memory, recognise things that are there but unseen and understand cause and effect. Physical games like hiding games and peek-a-boo help infants to understand that even when they cannot see you, you are still present and still exist. Physical activities that help to promote the cognitive development of cause and effect include letting your child bang on a pot with a spoon, which shows him that if he hits a pot with a spoon, it will make the noise that he hears.


During the first two years of a child's life, cognitive development continues through the sophistication of abilities such as memory, attention and play. Memory can be stimulated through physical activities like hide and seek games. You can hide a toy in the area of the room where your toddler is while she watches you, and after the toy is hidden allow her use her memory to find the toy. Parents can help toddlers develop the cognitive ability of imagination by creating a make-believe environment and encouraging their toddlers to act out some small situation such as playing in a band, dancing in a concert or cooking a meal.

Ages Three to Four

Advanced cognitive development activities for children age three to four teaches them how to use their cognitive skills for more specific purposes. One activity that will develop your child's ability to identify and match objects involves picking up a specific type of leaf or stone and asking your child to search for another one that matches it. Another ability to promote at this stage is identification of groups and numbers. Have older children walk around your house and find groups of items like candle sticks or pencils and find groups of items with three things in it, then five or seven. This activity can be taken outside to the park by having your child run around and collect seven leaves or three sticks and bringing them back to you.

Ages Five to Six

Engaging your child in physical activities that promote the cognitive ability to problem solve becomes important as your child grows. Puzzles and sorting games aid in your child's continued memory and development of problem solving. At this stage, you can also encourage development by encouraging your child to make his own decisions about physical activity. Give him a choice between riding his bike, going to the playground or throwing a baseball, which teaches your child about decision making and follow through.

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