COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: Let’s Figure Things Out, Let’s Pretend

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: Let’s Figure Things Out, Let’s Pretend

Let’s Figure Things Out, Let’s Pretend is the area of learning that refers to cognitive development: the psychology of thinking, and how children acquire, construct, and use their increasing knowledge.

For a child, this involves reasoning, problem-solving, logical and symbolic thinking, memory, concentration, attention span, and the ability to understand concepts. For example, a stove is hot to touch, and so not for play, but used for cooking.

The toys and equipment will evolve and expand as a child ages. Toys will be exchanged and replaced with more challenging and complex toys. For example, a three-year-old won't be able to construct a small Lego kit but can play with extra-large Lego blocks. Different sizes will be introduced at different ages. This is how knowledge builds, from piecing together large basic creations to creating small complex ones.

It’s fascinating to witness a child advance to the next level!

Indicators of a Child’s Progress through Early Cognitive Development

Reasoning AND problem-solving, concentration AND attention span
• Is curious and has a desire to learn (asks questions)
• Has an interest in exploring
• Observes and makes discoveries
• Uses planning skills (socks before shoes)
• Shows creativity and imagination (scribbles a picture and names it)
• Applies information and experience to a new situation (burns hand and learns not to touch the stove again)
• Persists at task (ranging from five to 15 minutes)

Logical thinking and memory
• Sorts objects that are the same (apples with apples)
• Recalls a sequence of events (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
• Classifies objects as the same and different (two apples, one apple, one orange)
• Arrange objects in a series (a line, a circle, by size, by shape)
• Recognizes patterns and can repeat them (red/white, red/white)
• Increases in awareness of cause and effect (rain makes things wet)

Ability to understand concepts
• Make believe a pretend role or situation (pretend to be a dog or doctor)
• Make believe with objects (a fireman with a hose or extinguisher, or use a box as a boat)
• Can sustain pretend play with friends (from parallel to cooperative play)
• Shows increasing awareness of time concepts (now, later, tomorrow)
• Understands space concepts (here, there, home, school)
• Makes and interprets representations (draw a house, build with blocks)

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