You might think of sand and water activities, and stacking blocks, as just child’s play, but did you know this is actually teaching your kids the basics of subjects like science, technology, engineering and maths?
It might seem a distant prospect, but it’s never too soon to start helping your child develop logic skills such as number, problem-solving and even physics and coding. This could be useful as they grow up as there are big shortages of qualified people in industries that rely on these skills.
There are lots of things you can do to turn your child into a logical thinker. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best ways to help develop their logical brain.
Play with sand and water
Your child might think they’re just pouring, building and knocking things down, but playing with sand and water gives them an early science lesson.
They’re learning about the properties of solids and liquids, how they behave, weights and measures: an introduction to the basics of physics.
Giving them a variety of pots and containers to fill and empty, and objects to put in the water to float or sink, will help them learn even more.
Teach them about numbers
It’s never too soon to start teaching your child simple maths skills, and learning about numbers can be lots of fun.
There are plenty of action songs that introduce numbers, such as One, Two, Three, Four Five, Once I Caught a Fish Alive and Five Little Ducks, as well as counting books.
You can also check out educational toys that build your child’s understanding of numbers, from talking toys that count out loud to teaching clocks and classic games like dominoes.
Build and stack
Playing with construction toys is a great way to develop your child’s logical mind.
As well as counting the number of blocks, rings or stacking cups in their tower, they’ll also learn about concepts such as more and less, and taller and shorter.
You’ll see their knowledge grow as they play, for example, as they learn that a two-by-two pile of bricks contains the same number as a tower of four, even though one is much taller than the other.
Introduce them to coding
Children often have a knack for technology that puts us to shame, and even young kids can begin to develop an understanding of computer coding.
Aimed at three- to eight-year-old, the innovative Code-a-Pillar from Fisher-Price is a first of its kind. Your little ‘programmer’ can connect the nine segments of the ‘Code-a-Pillar’s’ body in endless combinations to make it perform actions like going forwards, backwards, left, right and pausing.
Every time your child rearranges the segments, Code-a-Pillar will take a different path. The possibilities are endless!
Pencil and paper puzzles are brilliant for helping children develop logic.
Noughts and crosses involves critical thinking to work out not just what their own next move should be, but also what their opponent might do.
Mazes require kids to use their problem-solving abilities, while more complex puzzles like Sudoku will challenge an older child’s brain.
Make some measurements
Size, shape and space are important concepts for every child to understand, and they’re part of the curriculum from pre-school upwards.
You can help your child get to grips with these concepts by getting them to measure and compare different shapes, objects and distances.
Get them involved in cooking and help them weigh out the ingredients; do some basic measuring using hand spans; or go for a walk and collect natural objects for your child to arrange in size order. They’re all good ways to build their early maths skills.
Develop their problem-solving skills
Being able to solve problems independently will help your child when they start school, and they’ll be more likely to persist even when a solution isn’t obvious.
Early learning toys like shape sorters and jigsaws will help your child develop their problem-solving skills as they work out how to put the pieces in the right places.
The Fisher-Price Code-a-Pillar can also help your child learn to think logically. It encourages experimentation by inspiring their natural curiosity, and promotes independent thinking as they work out how to put the segments together to create different actions.
Get out the board games
Board games are brilliant for whiling away a rainy afternoon, and they’re full of opportunities for your child to think logically.
Any game that involves them coming up with a strategy and trying to work out their opponent’s plan of action will get their brain cells ticking.
We love classic family games like Battleships, Connect Four and Jenga for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Sort it out
Sorting objects by shape, size or colour is a good test of logic for young children. It helps them understand similarities and differences. For example, by seeing that a triangle and a circle may be different shapes, but if they’re the same colour, they have something in common.
Get your child to practise sorting all kinds of different objects: from play balls and building blocks to the socks from the washing machine!
Go on a treasure hunt
Setting up a treasure hunt – indoors or out and about – for your child will help them learn about following instructions and solving clues, developing their problem-solving skills.
You can tailor the difficulty to their age and understanding: young children could have visual clues, while an older child can try to solve more complex riddles to reach their goal.