Kids are born curious. Even as babies, they are fascinated by the world around them. When I was pregnant, the midwife who conducted the prenatal course related a story a baby she helped deliver. The moment the baby’s head popped out of her mother’s body, the infant looked around the room with wide open eyes, eager to take in her new surroundings. She wasn’t officially born yet, not until the next push anyway.
Babies are eager to learn, as are preschool kids. This is the time to teach them to think. To analyze and deduce things for themselves. Don’t keep spoonfeeding them. Challenge them with puzzles which they have to figure out on their own.
As soon as the child can sit up, get him or her stacking rings and let him or her play with them. A favourite toy I had as a child was a box with holes to fit different shapes all around it. Shape sorting is a math-related skill that helps a child develop his or her analytical skills.
Then there are television programs. Some are actually very educational. As a child, my favourite was Sesame Street. When my kids came along, they were hooked too. We’d watch Elmo and the gang as they learn about letters and numbers in the show. It is a great show for literacy. Especially with its focus on phonetics.
Still, when it comes to analytical skill, I think Blues Clues is the best. My kids love guessing what Blue is up to. Although meant for preschool kids, even my older kids enjoyed the show. Basically, guessing games and treasure hunts with one clue leading to the next and puzzles are great ways to hone a child’s analytical skills. Kids with more exposure to such games will have an edge over their peers when it comes to Math and Science subjects in school.