Strategies for Promoting Cognitive Development at Home

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rainbow Child Care Center. Raleigh Moms Blog only partners with sponsors who we feel bring the most value to our readers.

Our young children are growing so quickly not just physically but also mentally and intellectually. They are moving through their daily lives observing and engaging with the world around them. How, do we as parents, help to keep those little minds stimulated? We reached out to our friends and experts on early childhood education, Rainbow Child Care Center, to share with us a few strategies in which parents can help support their child’s cognitive development.

Cognitive development, also known as intellectual development, is influenced by the child’s approach to learning, his or her biological makeup, and environmental factors. A child’s background knowledge also affects the child’s ability to make sense of new information and experiences. Background knowledge also supports a child’s ability to process new information, remember, classify, solve problems, acquire language, and understand new experiences including mathematics and literacy development.

Allowing children to freely explore their environment supports children’s ability to make new connections, recognize and recall, as well as develop curiosity and motivation. Connecting prior experiences supports cognitive development by linking learning experiences allowing children to develop a greater understanding.

Problem-solving involves identifying a problem, thinking of ways to solve the problem and trying out possible solutions. Problem-solving is an important cognitive skill that children will be faced with daily. Adults can support problem-solving skills by allowing children to help make choices, asking open-ended questions and involving children in things that matter to them.

Strategies for Promoting Cognitive Development at Home

  • Provide recyclable as well as new materials that can be used in a variety of innovative ways, e.g., boxes, tubes, spools, containers, lids and buttons.

  • Provide opportunities for children to observe others solving problems and working together with other children and adults to develop problem-solving skills.

  • Describe children’s problem-solving strategies “You tried to reach the cookies on the countertop and then used a step stool to reach them.

  • Play I-Spy with your child “I Spy something red…” “I wonder what it could be.”

  • Take time to answer “why” questions. Help them refine their questions and support them in finding answers.

  • Encourage your child to make and test predictions and to examine their thinking process.

  • Encourage children’s imaginations by finding images in clouds or puddles.

  • Use photos and objects to talk about your child’s past experiences.

  • Play memory games like “What’s Missing?” Display a few items, remove one and ask your child to identify what item is missing.

Tell us in the comments below some things that you like to do with your little ones to stimulate their cognitive development?


Berke, K., Bickart, T., Burts, D., & Heroman, C. (2010). Objectives for development and learning. (5 ed., Vol. 5, pp. 67-68). Washington: Teaching Strategies Inc.

Bickart, T., Colker, L., Dodge, D., & Heroman, C. (2010). Objectives for development and learning. (5 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 32-33). Washington: Teaching Strategies Inc.

Rainbow Child Care Center, one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality early education, is dedicated to providing a safe “Home Away From Home” environment that fosters the developmental growth of every child. Known for its commitment to whole-child learning, Rainbow offers a challenging curriculum supporting intellectual growth while promoting a culture that fosters friendships, develops healthy beginnings and encourages a love of lifelong learning. With over 15 centers in the Greater Raleigh Area find the one nearest you by visiting or calling (833) 90-LEARN!


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