Parents often frown at the mention of kids’ parties since it usually involves a lot of noise, running around, unpredictable chaos and quite a tangible mess to clean up after it’s all done. However, there are ways we can use parties to actually work both for us and the kids.
There are three main areas in children’s cognitive development and these are attention, memory and thinking. The good news is that although some genetic factors are involved in the development, most of these skills are learned, which means they can be improved with practice and training.
If we make a carefully thought out plan about the activities and their impact on the kids, we will not only save ourselves from unwanted chaos, but we will have the kids immersed into learning new things and developing their little minds without them even noticing it. That is the greatest trick of all teaching – disguise it with fun! Here is how you can make it work.
Attention is the ability to focus and concentrate on one task for a certain period of time and this skill is needed for all future learning that awaits any kid. If you have kids under the age of 5, their attention span will be under 15 minutes so you need to prepare a lot of short but fast paced activities to keep their attention.
That means playing one game for the entire length of the party just won’t do and you have to come up with various interesting things. They usually benefit from any help adults can provide, so if you are taking them out to an aquarium or a zoo, for example, you can point out important and interesting things and ask them a lot of questions like “Which animal do you like the most? Why? What do you like about them? What did you like best about them?” and so on. This will help them pay attention to details and use specific language. Children over 8 are able to focus for longer periods of time and even complete tasks, so you can arrange a game like a scavenger hunt for example.
Memory helps kids build a base of knowledge from their experiences, thoughts, and observations. They will base and modify their future behaviors on this acquired knowledge. Children under 5 have difficulty with long-term memory so you should focus on short term memory games and activities, and not expect much from them when it comes to remembering game rules and results. Which means you can take them to the same parties and their favorite places since they will forget the majority of things about it and will experience the same amount of fun and pleasure as any previous time. Simply put, they won’t get bored with it. It is a different case with older kids since they can build up on previous experience and knowledge so you are well advised not to repeat your party themes and take them to the same places.
A great way to help kids memorize things is to provide memory games, quizzes, to have nursery rhymes and catchy sayings with educational content, like a song to teach them months in the year, or the sounds animals make for example. Putting music to any content helps kids memorize stuff easier and organize it better, and they are likely to remember it for good. So, it is no wonder children remember party songs and musical games much more easily than their homework! Use it to your advantage.
It is important to know that kids actually love new stimuli and gaining new knowledge, they simply need variety and a faster pace than we adults do. Having different kinds of games will keep them immersed: board games, songs, and music, physically engaging games like musical chairs, jump rope and hula hoop, arts and crafts, scavenger hunt and quizzes, professional entertainers and so on. Get creative with your party planning and don’t be surprised if you want to join in!
What is your favorite party game?
Hi there, I work for a school in London that does science parties and I think if I had that when I was a kid I would think it was the best party ever. I wouldn’t think of it as educational – just a really fun party. Kids like to learn and having an ‘educational’ type fun party is a great way to learn. And also help cognitive development. xx
Kids loves party not only because of the games but also they get to socialize with the other kids at the party.
Even if my teen is having problems I sing a solution. I recently made up the goofiest songs for Math she was having trouble understanding. She laughed and called me goofy but I told her to repeat the songs with me. She did and she’s got it. Finito!
Like you mention I hate kids birthday parties because of all the chaos so I hope to look at things different now! Thank you for sharing this, it puts things into perspective!
This is such a smart idea! I love that your encouraging fun AND learning!
I never thought of cognitive development being important in parties, but in reading the points I realized I practiced some of them without giving them a name. I always think a post like this helps us be aware of the importance of our child’s development.
Wow this is a great idea to really start helping teach your kids things while they are just having fun! I have an expecting friend I’ll be sending this to…
I never new children parties could actual have some great benefits besides just good fun! The best part of parties is the memories…we all need some good memories to look back on – and even better pictures to relive the moment!
I totally agree. I love looking back at pictures and remembering the old times. It brings me such happiness.
When I was young, all my birthday parties would involve challenging games that would really make us kids think. Little did I know I was learning while having fun!
That’s a great way to allow a child to learn new skills especially when it comes to their focus and their memory! I will definitely recommend this to moms. Parties will also help their social skills.
I’ve never thought about parties this way until now and you’re so right. Everything can be turned into a learning experience when it comes to kids.
I haven’t thought about parties in this way before! Those do look like fun games. I’m horrible at coming up with games…but my kids LOVE them.
You know, I’ve never really thought of it that way, but all these games and activities really do help with their cognitive ability. some good games here.
Awesome ideas! We should encourage kids to develop every way possible
Parties are really great and important for social development.
Your kids are going to be so smart. I love when parents make learning fun.
There are many great ideas and suggestions here which is great for moms and new moms life myself. Bookmarking and pinning.
Such great tips and love how you outlined it into the different categories to better make sense of it all. I love memory games even still as an adult – so thats a good one to practice early on!
Karen | GlamKaren.com
Ana De- Jesus
I never thought of parties being good for cognitive development but it makes sense that it would help concentration and memory. Especially with the amount of kids that go to kids parties these days!
Robin Masshole Mommy
Those party games sound fun! What kid wouldn’t love those?