When you play games that boost your memory, fun and productivity are what follows!
Today we are all taking to working out physically to stay in the pink of fitness. But we tend to totally lose out on our deteriorating mental fitness. Cognitive health and memory sharpening require a fair amount of our attention.
Keep your blood clean, your body lean and your mind sharp!
To tame this stumbling block, we have compiled a list of games that will help enhance your mental functioning and boost your memory. The best part of this is that it will feel less like an exercise and more like a recreational activity!
Strategy Video Games
These games don’t just improve your cognitive functioning but also help to increase your motor coordination. These are real-time science fiction games that allow the user to control the fate of the character that they use in the game.
A study has found that playing strategy games like StarCraft can increase a player’s brain flexibility, which refers to the ability to allocate the brain’s resources under changing circumstances. Brain flexibility has often been referred to as the cornerstone of human intelligence.
Since these games also include new technologies and continually emerging features/ammunition, it also needs the player to discover the usage of these and remember the functions of every feature whilst being sharp enough to employ them when they are needed.
These games require the user to be a first-person action executer- like shooting, driving and so on. What this ensures is that hand-eye coordination and motor skills are sharpened.
It also makes the mind work in close coordination with physical reflexes. These are also of multi-player type which could make it a group activity, thus boosting engagement levels of the user.
Additionally, expert action gamers who play first-person shooting games have observed a boost in their contrast sensitivity function, or the ability to discern subtle changes in the brightness of an image.
Contrast sensitivity is the first of the visual aptitudes to diminish over time, which results in the loss of the ability to pick out bright patches (which is key to tasks like driving at night).
Education is synonymous with evolution. However, education itself is an evolving phenomenon. With the advent of technology and varying demands from the workforce, it is only obvious that classroom learning too will have to change to adopt such modern trends.
As teachers, it becomes paramount to ensure that your classroom is equipped for this evolution. After all, a classroom is only as good as the student.
To stay in sync with these rapid changes, people have come up with trends that could be implemented to upgrade your classrooms. The list though can be overwhelming for a teacher. Fret not!
We have you covered with the following list of worthy modern education trends.
Modern Trends for Classroom Learning:
1. Collaborative learning
This is also called co-operative or team teaching. It makes things easier for classroom teachers to be both innovative and interactive. This trend is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
It involves educators working in tandem to lead, instruct and mentor groups of students.
To be effective, the art of co-operative teaching typically requires thoughtful consideration on the part of educators. Therefore, teachers should set aside time for developing lessons and deciding on appropriate learning approaches to use with specific students or groups.
Collaborative teachers need to bring their most exceptional strengths and practices to the team while remaining flexible to adapt to alternative methodologies that can benefit student learning. In this way, teachers continue growing in their professional skills and students gain understanding from a variety of instructional approaches.
Team teachers must also present a united front so that students perceive each as being of similar importance in knowledge and authority, consequently leading to more civil learning environments.
2. Blended or Hybrid learning
This is a trend of learning wherein online learning aids and web-based interaction is actively used in the classroom. From Google Docs to interactive whiteboards and IoT applications, technology has paved its way into the classroom. The focus is to explore the reasoning behind every lesson imparted.
As Harry Wong said, “In an effective classroom, students should not only know what they are doing. They should also know why and how.” This approach, also called mixed-mode learning, ensures that new engagement opportunities are introduced for students.
The tricky part here, for educators to note, is that the transition from face-to-face learning to fully online learning can be taxing on students. Teachers should establish a fine balance between the two. The mode of delivery that compliments the learning objective must be employed in the learning scheme. Students, in turn, will get massive exposure to how technology can be integrated into daily life.
3. Experiential Learning:
Imagine if all the theoretical lessons in a textbook were swapped for a series of activities or experiments that drive home the same concept! This is the crux of experiential learning.
It is a series of hands-on experiences of concepts, aimed at exercising critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
One could also make sense of it as repeated cycles involving experience, reflection, conceptualization, and experimentation in any order.
“For the things, we have to learn: before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
Experiencing theoretical concepts through real-world simulations of the same can actually be an alternative method of improving engagement of students in their academics.
Improved interest levels will only result in a better grasp of the concepts at hand. Creativity can be infused into this to bring in a ‘fun’ element to regular classroom learning.
At ThinkTac, we believe in the power of experiential and tactile learning. We have a set of TACtivities that bridge the gap between play and work, involving real-time activities that enforce regular academic concepts.
The end-goal for any educator is the same – to dispense the best set of skills suited to help propel their students to greater heights. New challenges require new approaches and the above list is a set of ideas worth giving a shot.
Like they say, Hands-on is Minds-on. Read on to come to this conclusion!
Despite having studied Anatomy and understanding a lot of the related concepts very well, when I performed ThinkTac’s TACtivity where I had to prepare a ball-and-socket joint model myself, using plastic balls and pencils, not only did I have a lot of fun but also improved my clarity about the concept of the functioning of the joint. Me performing the activity is the first image that pops up in my mind when I hear ball-and-socket joint anywhere. It is as if the moment has been imprinted in my long-term memory. That’s hands-on learning: learning by doing.
Indeed, learning actively helps children in retaining information for a longer time as it involves more number of senses and helps in learning through trial and error. Not only does it provide them an engaging environment but also helps in developing their critical-thinking skills.
INSTRUMENTAL IN SHAPING CHILD’S APPROACH
In the real world, spoon-feeding doesn’t work for long and children must learn to execute tasks themselves. Hands-on learning helps in building confidence and increasing self-belief. It also reduces dependency and helps in developing leadership qualities. The children start to focus on solutions rather than complaining, and learn to fix problems on their own. They come to know exactly where they get stuck and what their strengths and weakness are.
Hands-on learning helps children in exploring their creativity and ways of achieving the same results through the implementation of different ideas, thus, encouraging independent thought process and intuitive learning. As a result, it helps children in putting knowledge to use in real-world situations.
Imagine teaching your child to cycle. Now imagine teaching them cycling using a book. When they really begin cycling, they will be clueless. The traditional book education system is no different from this.
Unless children take part in such activities, they will never learn how to actually swim or cycle no matter how much they read about it.
But of course, if they know the basics and they want to try learning new tricks, books can without a doubt aid the process.
Undeniably, it’s easy to learn about something when we have to see or experience it. Hands-on learning promotes experiential learning and decreases the need to cram. However, hands-on learning should not be a replacement for the traditional book-reading method.
You can make the most of the two when they share a symbiotic relationship. Without hands-on learning, it is difficult to implement bookish knowledge to its full potential!
ThinkTac promotes a hands-on method of learning in the science concepts taught at schools today. If you think your children love science, then ThinkTac’s range of programs and products would be the best toys you can equip your kids with!
So, if you think your children find it hard to understand the science concepts taught at schools, well then, what better way to teach them science and clear their concepts than getting down and dirty with some hands-on science!
A back-to-school kit is quintessential to your child’s rebound back into school life.
As young kids face the blues of making the transition from laid back vacations to routine academics, they need to be equipped with all the help they can get. Parents, on the other hand, have a separate challenge. This involves preparing their ward’s mindset alongside adapting to the change in their routine.
This is when having a prepped back to school kit comes in handy. A back to school kit is essentially a staple set of materials and mindsets that will be put to use immediately as the student gets out of the break and into school. Suggestions to hit the bull’s eye with the back to school kit are as following:
The visual of freshly purchased notebooks, tightly wrapped in a brown sheet and labeled still spells out ‘Back-to-School’ to me!
Supplies entail all the stationery and knick-knacks that a student will require at school. These ensure that the student has no logistical hindrances in the beginning days. A way to up the excitement to get back to the routine could also be to accessorize supplies by themes, like the solar system, or seek out such design inspirations.
It is always a good idea to have a roundup of how your kid spent their time in the break.
Assessing the activities’ they took part in, the hobbies that held a major chunk of their time, and the changes in their interests will help you, as a parent, approach the academic year better. You will know which extracurricular activity to sign them up for (which could also ease the vacation-lag). It will also help in identifying the areas of concern with the child’s lifestyle and attitude towards learning.
The most important weapon in any young learner’s arsenal, is the inquisitive attitude towards anything they learn.
As Walt Disney, famously said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
The initial days of an academic term are synonymous with lesser workload. This could be the right time to tap into your child’s will to learn and explore, thus setting stage for all the lessons that the curriculum will being them.
The TACtivities provided at ThinkTac are an ideal way of ensuring the same. They introduce new and engaging concepts in a manner that doesn’t compromise on the fun aspect of learning. It also employs the tactile and experiential learning experiences for your kid.
There was definitely one hard obstacle that I faced getting back to school every term. This was losing all my idle time to play and do the things that restored my energy. Be it- reading, watching television or socializing with friends.
Recreation is an indelible part of growing up. And, in the transformative time of getting back to school, kids tend to find a need for it more than ever. They feel the temptation to extend their designated play hours and engage in un-academic interests.
As parents, it is important to be mindful of the fact that the transition is always hard. This is an apt time to cut some slack for the children and allow them to dwell in their mirth till the demands of academic life pick up.
No back to school kit will ever be complete without some implied considerations- A healthy breakfast, a positive outlook, and a good night’s sleep. Ensure that your kids leave their anxiety and fears at home and march on to conquer another year of school.
One thing we can all agree on, about kids, is that they are overflowing with creativity! Remember the Bournvita Quiz Contest back in the day? It was one of my favorite shows as a kid and I remember, in one audience round, whispering the answer to a question in my sister’s ear. I never summoned up the courage to raise my hand and answer it. And yes, the answer I whispered was the correct answer and someone else got a prize for giving it!
Another show that my siblings and I used to like, was Spell Bee. Looking back, I am amazed at how such platforms gave a wonderful opportunity for children to challenge their knowledge, learn from peers, explore, enjoy, and bring out the spark in them.
The RYSI Award is open to all children nationwide, studying in standards III to X, and aims to establish Science as fun, interesting, and something that can be explored anywhere with simple materials.
The Participants are expected to create hands-on science activities that demonstrate a principle in the selected topic; working models, toys or experiments that help demonstrate a scientific principle may be submitted. The children can register on the website and all the registrations and participation is totally Free!
What Happens in RYSI?
Each of the first two years has seen more than 10,000 children participate in the preliminary phase, where they submit an innovation online. This is then judged by the ISPF Team as well as a selected group of volunteers.
More than 100 children are shortlisted for the Live Finals, which happens annually at Sir C.V. Raman’s old home, Panchavati, in Bangalore. During the Finals, children are given a topic and a selection of materials, from which they have to make an impromptu innovation on-the-spot.
Senior researchers, scientists, and teachers from reputed institutions across Bangalore come to interact with the children and select the awardees!
What do the winners get?
On winning the event the child will be awarded cash prizes up to Rs. 20,000/- and a national award certificate, while all the participants are presented with a participating certificate.
If you believe your child has the inquisitiveness, love for science and the creativity to win the RYSI Awards, register them now! From my Bournvita Quiz experience, I can confirm that if there’s one thing that your child will regret, it is the chances she or he didn’t take! So what are we waiting for? Let’s get them enrolled now!
Are you an overprotective parent who takes excessive interest in the life of your child a.k.a. a Helicopter parent?
Parenting styles can be classified as authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, neglectful, overprotective, narcissistic, polarised, dependent, isolated, and toxic. Of these, overprotective parents can be classified as a Helicopter Parent.
In order to give children the best life possible some parents act out on their own insecurities, thus, restricting their children from learning from their own mistakes. As a result, their children grow up anxious and utterly afraid, just like them, and are not equipped with healthy coping skills to care for themselves.
When we confuse ‘guidance’ with ‘constant interference’ in any child’s life, it is likely that the child will not learn by doing, but will have trouble dealing with issues alone later on, and will not develop a confident and an independent mindset.
On the other hand, parenting done right is quite like equipping the child with a well-strapped parachute that is made up of common-sense, courage, and kindness. And then, teaching the child to jump independently.
It is not intended that we choose to overstep our parenting boundaries, it is only out of concern for our children. But sometimes the best thing we, as parents, need to do is to sit back and watch our child fail, fail and fail again while learning something new on their own in the process.
So, if you too are guilty of finding yourself in the driving seat of your child’s life, here is a 4-step guide to let your child steer their life on their own.
A 4-step guide to stop being a helicopter parent and helping your child in getting ready for the real world:
1.DO IT FOR YOUR CHILDREN
In the initial phase of life when your children are young, you will have to do things for them. This is the stage where your helicoptering would be helpful and necessary.
For example, an infant is fed, cleaned, and put to sleep by the parent; a primary school kid is taught before exams, and a high-school teen is taught about finances but the parents handle it.
2. DO IT WITH YOUR CHILDREN
By over-helping your children you might make your children feel that they can’t do it by themselves. Therefore, in the second stage of learning, you must involve the child in doing things together, where both you and your child could share a task and you can guide at every step.
For example, a preschooler could learn to eat, clean, and sleep under your guidance; a primary school kid could develop a reading habit, and a high-school teen could be given some monetary responsibility.
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings”
Do not handicap your child by making their lives easy and don’t rescue your child from challenges. Letting them do things by themselves will help them learn the natural consequences of their behaviors and actions. You want them to be independent and confident, right?
Behind every child who believes in himself or herself are parents who believed first.
Peng Liyuan, very famously said, “A child’s first teacher is its mother.”
Many things and many people in our lives have mattered to us and have affected us in some profound, meaningful, and permanent way. Regardless of this, however, there is one person in our lives who has done more than what anyone else has– Our Mothers.
It is a universal belief that our mother is the best one, and we can cite thousands of reasonable arguments behind our belief. It is invariably true that there are many wonderful mothers out there. They have nursed our scraped knees, shuttled us from school to after-school activities, and made sure the bills were paid.
Most importantly, many of us were lucky enough to benefit from the little slices of knowledge our moms shared with us that helped shape the people we are today.
A mother undoubtedly plays the most vital role in our overall development.
The brain’s most fundamental task in life is survival and the need to seek love, and so each human is on a mission to be loved. Babies are born with an intense curiosity; a yearning to learn everything possible about themselves and the world around them. As a rule of nature, we learn so many lessons actively and passively from our mothers. It is these silent lessons that are intrinsically embedded in us-
Mother’s Silent Lesson #1
Perseverance and Discipline
Mothers are multitasking superheroes. They juggle through the various facets of their life and create the perfect balance. No one can teach a child the value of hard work as much as their mother can! The immense satisfaction and drive that our mothers get out of having the perfectly productive routine, is something we are impressed by and most of us try and adopt as a way of life.
Mother’s Silent Lesson #2
Prioritization and Patience
Mothers often center their world around ours. It is these unshakeable priorities to their people that makes them so special. They have a world of patience to listen and prioritize their kid over everything else. This commitment to a cause is what children tend to learn from their mothers. The investment of emotional and physical energy to your priority is a vital lesson to imbibe.
Mother’s Silent Lesson #3
Irrespective of whether your mother is technically skilled or not, there is not a thing she can’t try her hand at. This is because mothers are adept at understanding the essence of each task. They are well verse with the ways of the world and though they shelter you from the ills of the world, they are the ones that prep you to face it headfirst. In ways we will never know, our mothers prepare us for life.
Mother’s Silent Lesson #4
Willingness to learn
No woman is born a mother; they learn to be one as they grow with their kids. They are constantly evolving and getting better at their game. This perpetual willingness to learn and adapt to circumstances becomes a way of life that surely inspires every kid. Alongside them, we too are willing to ask the right questions, and be the best versions of ourselves.
I once ran a 100m sprint in school. And as the race approached, I got cold feet. That is when my mom said to me, “Don’t look to see who’s beside you, and don’t look back to see who might be catching up. That will just slow you down. Run just as fast as you can toward the finish line!”
I won many races using that strategy and learned that the advice also has many applications outside of the race track. This is just one of the million examples that are testament to the fact that mothers are truly our golden guarding angels. Her importance and significance in our life is superlative to all other possessions.
Summer breaks are the cherry on the cake for every school going kid. It is a time of fun, frolic and absolute indulgence in summer activities.
As a parent, it is natural to be concerned about your child’s productivity in this huge chunk of time. The only way you can get them to put it to good use is by not compromising on the ‘fun’ factor of the break.
In fact, it doesn’t take much to convert an idle summer into a creative and exciting one. Here’s how:
Back to Basics
There was a time when the only recreation kids had, was to keep themselves physically and mentally active through outdoor games and indoor playtime. Time spent indoors today is mostly behind the blue screen.
Kids are facing a problem of plenty as there are a number of summer activities, they can keep themselves occupied with the advancements in entertainment and technology.
However, limiting the time spent on this and engaging in simpler habits like reading, playing outdoors or even bonding with other people can be useful. Newton found his calling when an apple fell on his head outdoors. So, it is only possible that the world can also inspire your kid to think and create.
Children are at their sharpest best when happy and free. Kids can be encouraged to play and experiment with a variety of summer activities in their breaks. This will boost their creativity, spatial awareness and communication skills.
Starting off with puzzles or building blocks and leveling up to basic coding, there are so many concepts that can be learned whilst having fun. Games such as arranging jigsaw puzzles, playing board games such as Scrabble and chess help kids, think fast and efficiently. Engaging in our wide range of online TACtivities can give them the satisfaction of setting up something by themselves as well.
Find a Hobby
Hobbies are healthy. Hobbies benefit children in many ways. It gives a child an opportunity to express and discover themselves. Hobbies prepare children to set and achieve goals, solve problems and make decisions.
Hobbies, like poetry or story writing, painting and sketching, clay modelling and pottery, help children use their creative abilities to make something unique.
They use their imagination while undertaking these summer activities. They learn to think and visualize so as to come up with newer ideas. What your children pick up as simple hobbies, develop into full-fledged skills in later years.
Children need plenty of opportunities for creative play and innovative thinking. Start by providing activities that are based on the children’s interests and ideas. This involves learning how to listen intently to what children are saying.
However, the summers are an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone as well.
“A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for.”
Your child has the potential to reach new heights and realize what makes them excited when they have the chance to broaden their experiences. These activities are where kids can expand on their talents, meet new friends, learn new skills, and develop useful social skills.
As parents, you can show your kids the ropes when it comes to opening their minds and hearts to new adventures. Some kids will be receptive while others may need some convincing. But no matter their interest level, you can be sure that they will benefit from your motivation and push for them to explore and become enlightened!
Your child’s increased cognitive development and fine motor skills will propel them in their adulthood.
If your child is under 15 years old, they are in the golden period of their life. The skills learned and the talents forged now, will last a lifetime.
We often tell our kids, that if you learn to ride your cycles early, you will go on to later ride your bike with ease and subsequently drive any vehicle better. You’ll know why by the end of this article!
What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills are simply the use of limbs. These skills help your child be independent and carry out the simplest sensory and locomotive functions.
They combine with hand-eye reflexes and creative exploration to help children develop the ability to explore various physical feats.
With a slack in physical activity in the current generation, there is a good chance that the fine motor skills receive less initiation.
What is Cognitive Development?
“The first five years have so much to do with how the next eighty turn out.”
– Bill Gates
This is true in the case of brain development as well. Cognitive development is the building blocks of thought processing, memory, problem-solving and skill shaping. Put simply, it is a trigger to how adeptly your child can think and reason.
Having established the importance of fine motor skills and cognitive development for a healthy child, it is time to address the fact that, your children need these skills to survive in this increasingly demanding world.
Awareness and adaptability are truly the new currency.
How to improve Cognitive and fine motor abilities?
Fret not, moms & dads! You can do so much to encourage and thrust your children into adopting simple practices that sharpen the weapons in their skill set.
Following are a set of simple exercises that your kids can practice to improve fine motor skills and boost cognitive development:
1. Climb up and down staircases– Children are advised toclimb up and down staircases. They can first take one step at a time, swinging their arms in a rhythmic motion. Slowly, they can begin to skip a few steps in the same rhythm.
This will increase their lower body mobility and also help their mind-body coordination.
2. Juggle palm-sized balls between their hands – Young kids up to the age of six are encouraged to juggle palm-sized balls between their hands.
This helps their eyes stay in sync with the movement of the ball and initiates higher sensory reflexes. They can improvise on this activity by walking or jumping on a mark while juggling the ball.
3. Routine jobs – Children under the age of four must be taught to do routine jobslike turning doorknobs, using a hair-comb and eating with cutlery from the very beginning.
By twisting and gripping these supplies, they learn to gain control of their hands and the strength needed to use and maneuver the same.
4. Draw, Cut & Paste – Kids can be asked to draw a circle or cross of varying widths with pencils and crayons onto a paper and then cut the same. These can be pasted onto another sheet of paper.
This simple activity helps in depth perception and freedom with the hands. It also helps them fine tune the smaller margins of errors with monotonous work.
5. Arrange, Dismantle, Rearrange – Lesser of an exercise than a playtime task, ask your kid to arrange a tower of blocks, dismantle it and rearrange the same.
This will help their hand and wrist control. It will also familiarise them with the concept of balance and weight.
6. Use Two Hands – As your child’s dexterity improves, encourage them to use both hands to do new tasks. Play games like The Itsy-Bitsy Spider to teach them how to work for their hands
in tandem. Or using games that incorporate hands-on learning like the TACtivities, will help them improve both, their motor skills and their cognitive development.
This engages the right and left side of the brain thus giving them increased avenues to explore.
7. Play Sports – Physical Activities like playing a sport is extremely crucial for your child’s development. From running to the ball and racquet games and even water sports, they increase the agility of the body as well as influence the mind positively.
It positively influences cognitive and emotional functions. Sports discipline also engages the restraint in the minds of young kids. The importance of tactics and a competitive streak can be beneficial to brain development.