Resources for Families

Cognitive Skills Development Tips for Pre-School Children

Matching & Sorting

  • Find which thing or picture does not belong
  • Sort things into two groups
  • Put an eight piece puzzle together
  • Understand same and different

Explore & Experiment

  • Look closely at objects
  • Like to see what objects can do

Attention Span

  • Keep doing the same thing by himself for 5 to 10 minutes


  • Count out 10 objects
  • Recognize numerals 1 - 5

Concepts & Patterns

  • Name the days of the week in order
  • Name eight colors
  • Name penny, nickel, quarter, and dime
  • Use time words like today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
  • Beat a spoon on a pan in time to music


Ways to Encourage Your Child

Give your child four objects (one being different) & see if she can show which one is different.

Let your child help at home putting things away, groceries or clothes. Discuss why you put things where you do.

Buy or make simple puzzles for your child.

Play card games like Go Fish.


Take walks with your child. Stop to look at bugs, rocks, and seeds.

Let your child mix things together with water: sand, sugar, flour, dirt. Talk about what is happening.


Give your child time to play alone. Tell him that you are happy when he can keep playing.

Play board games with your child. Be sure to count spaces aloud as she moves the pieces along.

Make a counting book with your child.


Make a calendar with your child or give your child his own.

Help him write or draw a picture of what he will be doing
that day.

Help your child make a book of colors.

Use these coins to make a pattern, see if your child can follow or make her own pattern. This is also fun with
colored paper chains.

Talk with your child about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow.

Play or sing a song with your child as he keeps the beat with a spoon & pan, or toy drum.


Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc. 2002