Fun Things To Do While Traveling To Improve Cognitve Skills!

  • Have your child search for license plates with a vowel in them.  Once he spots one, see if he can say each sound and blend it into a nonsense word to work on attention and blending sounds.  See who can find the most in 15 minutes.
  • See if your child can get through an entire song clapping on beat.  When she gets good at this, give her a two step pattern to follow to the beat, such as clap (hands), slap (thighs), clap, slap, etc.  Rhythm is a key developmental skill and can help with attention and memory.
  • Work on I Spy type activities with 3 items.  You say “I see a bell, a red car and a robin’s nest.”  Your child should point to these 3 things in the environment in the order you named them.  As she becomes confident, the descriptions should become more challenging.  Try descriptions like these: “Find the thing that tells time, the place you can get a drink of water and something that opens and closes a door,” instead of a clock, a water fountain and a door handle.
  • Have your child make rhymes out of the street names.  Tyvola rhymes with Motorola and Rea rhymes with may, bay, clay and hay.
  • Have your child find numbers or letters using magazines or word and number search books.  Choose a targeted number or letter for him to circle or cross out (find all the Ts or 4s on a page or in the article), pushing accuracy first and then speed.
  • Super Circles TM is an easy travel game that combines matching numbers and colors, increasing your child’s processing speed.  You may not be able to play this in the car, but it is an easy game to tuck away and bring to your destination.
  • To help with math skills, have your child add license plate numbers (392TVQ is 14 points).  For an older child, have her multiply (392TVQ is 3 x 9 x 2 = 54).  The person who has the most points after 30 minutes is the winner.

Parents, these are games are meant for the entire family, including you, because everyone can benefit from brain training!

When You’ve Got Too Much To Think About

With so much information delivered to your smart phone, your computers, your iPad, your TV and who knows what else, you might feel your brain just can’t keep up. It’s far easier to feel overloaded and overwhelmed when you are bombarded with information, and you’re not fully in control of the rate and methods you use to learn.

In my field, that feeling is known as cognitive overload. Here are some tips for moving from overload to handling well all you have to think about and learn:

  • Pay careful attention to information you want to retain. When we skim our reading and information, and haven’t spent time upfront processing and manipulating it, the information was only on our "clipboard" and not held for later retrieval. So it disappears.
  • What do I mean by "manipulating" information? That’s a fancy way to say you learn the information in different ways so you build associations and the information stays with you.

For example, if you are reading something on LinkedIn that you want to remember, try to tell someone right away about the information. Talking about it will help you remember it later. So will doodling or drawing information you want to recall, rewriting it in your own words, reading it aloud, or putting the information in an outline.

Reorganizing information helps us retrieve it more efficiently later. Doing different things with the information makes it stronger than rereading it many, many times.

Our brains have a tremendous capacity to learn at any age. However, as researchers Tracey Shors and Elizabeth Gould have pointed out, concerted effort is key to learning and remembering.

Link to Tracey Shors on YouTube: