10 Cognitive Activities for Toddlers that Boost their Memory

Cognitive development for children focuses on a child’s development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of the development.

Your child’s cognitive development can easily stagnate, become slow or improve at a very fast pace depending on the activities that your child is exposed to at certain milestones of his or her development.

As a parent, you can help to improve your child’s cognitive development by incorporating simple activities into your child’s daily routine and play.

If you have got a toddler in the house you’ll soon realize that those little feet never get tired of playing. So, the catch is to introduce your child to memory-boosting activities that are quite fun and engaging too.

So here are 10 cognitive activities for toddlers that can help your children boost their memory:

Cognitive Activities for Toddlers

  1. Sing-Along 

Sing-along songs are another fun and engaging cognitive activity for toddlers. . Sing songs with your toddler or simply play a song and encourage your child to sing along with you. Be sure to use songs that are short, simple, and easy to sing along to. This game thrives on repetition so don’t hesitate to sing it over and over again or simply put the song on repeat (for audio device).  

Also, don’t just sing any song. Make sure the songs you sing are educational too e.g songs like “head, shoulder, knees and toe”. That way your child gets to learn even while singing. 

Cognitive activities for toddlers will help boost your child’s memory as well as improve word identification.

And don’t be surprised when you catch your child sometimes singing alone or using the words of the song in conversations.

  1. Identify Noises

There are various cognitive activities for toddlers but identifying noises is one of the easiest and effective. This is because it can be incorporated into your child’s daily routine; so your child can keep learning on the go.

So, here is how it works:

Simply identify the noises that your child hears and ask your child to repeat them after you. Later, you may move on to ask your child to identify the noises while you repeat after your child.

Help your child to identify a wide range of noise and sounds from chirping birds singing, barking dogs, horning cars, running water, and even down to ringing phones.  

This is one of the cognitive activities for toddlers that will help your child to identify and remember objects and their sounds.

  1. Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are cognitive activities for toddlers that go a long way in boosting their memory. Puzzles generally provide children with opportunities to hone their problem-solving skills as they figure out where pieces fit or don’t. 

You can download simple puzzles online or simply buy one.

The trick with teaching your toddler using the puzzle game is that you must have a picture of the finished puzzle available for your child to look at for guidance. You can also make your very own DIY puzzle along with your toddler.

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Here is a DIY puzzle idea: Reprint two copies of a family photograph. Stick a copy on the wall and cut the other piece up. You may cut the other picture into four, five, or six pieces depending on the age of your child. Then mix up the cut pieces and encourage your child to solve the puzzle while looking at the one on the wall for clues. 

Trust me, this is one of the cognitive activities for toddlers that I will recommend anytime and any day. 

  1. Memory Matching

When it comes to listing cognitive activities for toddlers, the list is not complete without memory-matching games.

There are various memory matching games you can play with your child and the game is easy too. The goal of the memory matching activity game is simply to boost your child’s memory! 

So, here is how it works:

  • Make available at least 5 matching items. For instance; 2 spoons, 2 forks, 2 crayons of the same colour, 2 balls, 2 books and a pair of shoes.
  • Place one of each item on the floor and put the rest in a basket.
  • Then let your child pick an item from the basket and try to match it with the one on the floor.
  • You may have a first go as an example for your child.
  • Be sure to have sweets and cookies as rewards for each correct match or a simple round of applause will also do.

With this activity, your child gets to identify an item or several items, remember the items, look for a matching item and identify when a match is found.

Also, picture cards can be used as an alternative to objects. To use picture cards simply make duplicates of each picture and let your child find the correct match. 

Whether you are using objects or pictures, finding a match can be incredibly gratifying for your child and that’s what makes this cognitive activity for toddlers stand out.

  1. Sorting and Classifying

There are so many cognitive activities for toddlers but categorizing plays a large role in helping your child to develop retentive memory. 

Though this is a bit similar to the previous activity it is a bit more complex. 

Sorting and classifying as the name implies is a cognitive activity in which you encourage your child to sort out and classify items according to their colours, shapes, sizes, and even functions.

For instance, you may have a basket of little balls and ask your child to sort and classify the balls according to their colours.

Or you may present your child with a box of clothing items and ask your child to sort and classify the clothing according to their uses. 

Through sorting and classifying your child’s memory will come into play to help recall the function, class, or colour of each item. 

  1. Building Blocks!

Building blocks are exciting cognitive activities for toddlers. Your child can play this game independently and you may also join your child in playing the game. 

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The game involves exposing your child to different colours of blocks that avails your child the opportunity to not just build with them but to also match colours too.

This is one of the cognitive activities for toddlers that will surely open your child’s creative imagination and help in terms of shape or colour recognition, spatial awareness, and so much more.

  1. Look in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror may not be fascinating for you as a parent but it is a great wonder to your little one. So, of all the cognitive activities for toddlers, this is actually the simplest of them all. 

All you need to do is to have your child look into the mirror with you. Then start a copy-cat game once you have gotten your child’s attention. You can touch different parts of your body in the mirror reflection and ask your child to do the same too. You can even make faces associated with different emotions and ask your child to copy you. 

This cognitive activity for toddlers would help your child’s to remember names of body parts, associate the right words with the different facial expressions and even develop his or her self-image. 

When it comes to choosing from a wide range of cognitive activities for toddlers, “Looking in the Mirror” is a great choice for toddlers who are still at a very tender age.  

  1. Removing Tape Game – Brain Booster!

There is no way your toddlers can improve their memories if they don’t learn to pay attention and concentrate. While there are many cognitive activities for toddlers that can help their memory this particular activity focuses on their attention span. Removing the tape game is a game that will sharpen your toddler’s memory in a slow but steady way,

So, here’s how it works:

  •  On a flat surface, tablet or notebook, stick strips of masking tape.
  •  You may write an alphabet on each strip of the masking tape
  • Or, you colour each strip of masking tape with different colours.
  • Demonstrate to your toddler how to remove the tape one at a time by scraping the ends with your fingernails.
  • Then you are to call out an alphabet or colour while your toddlers would in turn attempt to remove the masking tape with the alphabet or colour from the flat suffice (You may point your child to matching tape if your child is quite tender).
  • Allow your toddler to explore and remove the tape themselves ( the goal is to get your child to be focused and concentrate on removing the tape.

 Little ones generally love feeling, scratching, and pulling. This particularly cognitive activity for toddlers will help to enhance your toddler’s concentration which is key in information grabbing and retention. 

  1. Storytelling 

One of the cognitive activities for toddlers that have passed on from generation to generation is storytelling. Introducing storytelling to your toddler would help your little one to develop confidence and improve memory. 

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Storytelling requires your child to pay attention and focus for a long period of time. This attentive skill would in turn help your little toddler to grab information and retain memory. 

This activity is quite easy as all you need to do is simply tell your little one an exciting story in an exciting way. Be sure to keep the story as short as possible and avoid complicated storylines too.

Don’t feature too many characters, a couple of two to three characters would do. Get your child to repeat characters’ names and actions at various intervals. And be sure to ask your little one questions at the end of your story.

Storytelling helps in memory retention, as your little one will have to keep track of the story characters, the sequence of events, and what’s going to happen next.

  1. Play Outside

You know the world is best explored and to explore you must step out of the house. Getting your little ones to play outside that house will open their creative imaginations which in turn improves their cognitive skills. 

Outdoor playtime is a must when it comes to choosing from a wide range of cognitive activities for toddlers. This is because playing outdoors helps your child to explore their environment and in turn question the finding in the environment. Your little ones will surely learn new words just by stepping out and don’t be surprised when they recall those words the next time they go out to play. 

So, instead of constantly playing indoors or using screens, encourage your little ones to play outside by scheduling outdoor playtime. You can even join them outdoors and help to identify named objects and creatures they find outside. This gives them an opportunity to explore and embrace nature. And you sure can see that, of all the cognitive activities for toddlers this is the most eco-friendly. 

Now I would like you to remember that children learn best through play. Child’s play is an integral part of a child’s cognitive development. Children do not play just to entertain themselves. They also play to educate themselves. Play is important for your child’s cognitive development and that is why the 10 cognitive activities for toddlers above, have been presented in a game format.

Learning and development are constantly happening when your child plays and it’s your duty as a parent to spend time playing with your child. So, don’t just introduce your child to these cognitive activities for toddlers, be sure to play along too.