- 2 mins
Play That is Good for the Brain
As contemporary author Diane Ackerman has said, “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” When Nanette Botha and I developed a holistic support system at AIMS Global to work with neurodivergent children, we had to think long and hard about this concept: How do we guide children to learn in a fun manner? The answer was more straightforward than we anticipated. We all want to know about topics we are interested in; therefore, we needed to take a strengths-based approach that focused on children’s interests. And what are all children interested in? Playing, of course. The types of games and interests vary from child to child, but generally, when your child is learning through play they are learning the actual concept, not learning by rote and repeating what they think you want to hear.
Moshi understands the importance of teaching through play and includes many educational games for kids in their app and website for parents and teachers. You can try out a range of activities with your child or classroom today and see them happily engage in big concepts like attention and memory, critical thinking, spatial awareness, and logical reasoning. Let’s have a look at some of the interactive games that Moshi offers:
Memory and attention games
Moshi has a number of fun and interactive games that increase children’s ability to pay attention to details and work on memory skills. If we tell our child, “This is a problem; we need to find a solution,” it might not go as well as if we say, “Let’s do the Awesome Vibes with Blingo activity!” In this activity, kids listen to a short story (under 10 minutes) and then answer some questions to help improve their attention and focus. This activity also exercises their critical thinking skills, as they need to adapt their answers to the story to show true comprehension.
In the Moshi app, there are memory games where kids flip over cards to find characters and other objects from the Moshi Stories. The memory games are designed to help kids hone in on and fine-tune their attention and critical thinking skills. As mentioned earlier, combining cognitive tasks with your child’s interests is a key to enjoyable and effective learning.
Another game to increase memory skills is Why Kindness Counts with Fuddy, which features kindness cards that your child first fills out and then matches up. Along with the focus on attention and memory, the activity also helps your child understand that the kinder we are with others, the kinder they usually are with us. This is a lesson we can all learn from—no matter our age.
Visual recognition games
According to Reynolds (2015), infant visual attention and object recognition are vital components of cognitive development, and this remains true as children grow. Moshi offers an array of interactive games featuring matching and memory activities that can help your child improve their visual recognition skills through identifying patterns, similarities, and differences.
For example, you can introduce ShiShi to your child through the short audio track 5 Minutes to Happiness with ShiShi, and then they can find differences in two pictures while coloring them. Another great activity to help your child improve their visual recognition skills is to unscramble words and do word searches. In Moshi’s Delightful Deep Breathing with Nancy activity, your child can unscramble words such as “calm,” “breathe,” and “focus” which will help Nancy (and your child) to relax. Your child can also find those same words in a word search.
In another learning game for kids, Windchimes of Wingledeed Woods, your child will have the opportunity to learn about onomatopoeia, where they match a word to the sound it makes—for example, “dog” to “woof.” This activity combines visual recognition skills with previously learned words and concepts.
The matching games in the Moshi app are another great choice and are designed to help kids improve their visual recognition skills. Kids will love learning to recognize patterns and find similarities and differences among unique objects with characters like Glugg, SleepyPaws and Captain Squirk.
Focus and concentration games
An inherent benefit of all of Moshi’s interactive games is an increase in your child’s focus and concentration. Because these games are engaging and interest-based, your child will automatically pay attention for longer periods and be more focused on the content. What about a fun activity that simultaneously teaches your child to concentrate for longer and to be kind to different people?
In Cali’s Rockpool of Inclusivity, your child will have the opportunity to learn about the power of differences and how to embrace their own. As Cali says, “Every Moshling brings something special to my rock pool.” Your child might feel a little less anxious about how they are different when completing these types of activities, and will also have the opportunity to associate their emotions with the scenario explained in the story—how did it make them feel, and how did they believe others felt in the story? These are big ideas for our little ones, yet extremely important to learn and focus on from a young age.
Another great mindfulness activity to help your child or class to calm down and concentrate a little longer, perhaps closer to the end of the day, is 5 Minute Stream of Calm with Yawnsy, which involves deep breathing and visualization. Research has identified numerous benefits of practicing mindfulness activities, such as meditation, from a young age. According to Perry-Parrish et al. (2015), some of these benefits include a decrease in stress, anxiety, depression, and disruptive behaviors, Moshi has numerous mindfulness activities for kids available, like Tapping Worries Away with ShiShi, where your child or class will learn the mindfulness activity of “tapping” and how to utilize it in their everyday life as a coping mechanism when they might feel a little overwhelmed or anxious.
The puzzles in the Moshi app can help kids with focus and concentration, as well as logical reasoning and spatial awareness. The puzzle pieces range from standard jigsaw pieces to fun shapes and, when complete, reveal a beautiful piece of art from the world of Moshi.
Fine motor skills games
I remember hours of coloring activities at school that I never really enjoyed, perhaps because the coloring pages were usually just random pictures of trucks or houses. As we support our children in improving their fine motor skills, we need to remember the secret ingredient—interest-based activities. Moshi does an excellent job of combining imaginative figures with exciting stories while teaching skills such as coloring, creativity, and object and color recognition. In the No More Nerves with Ivy activity, your child or class can learn about calming their own nerves along with Ivy and coloring in leaves associated with the story.
The Moshi app features interactive coloring pages with some of the most loved characters. Kids can tap into their creativity with Fluttercup, General Fuzuki, Ping and more, all while refining those fine motor skills, and color and object recognition. Moshi has many other activities for developing fine motor skills, enabling you to choose those that are the most interesting and age-appropriate for your child or class.
When we think “screentime for kids,” we might think of games with no particular purpose. Moshi can transform screentime into engaging and interactive activities where your child is happily learning concepts that matter and that are crucial for their cognitive development. Try some of these out, and ensure you track your child’s or class’s progress and participation level. You might be pleasantly surprised with the increase they show in concentration, focus, and understanding. Enjoy the process!
Perry-Parrish C, Copeland-Linder N, Webb L, Sibinga EM. Mindfulness-based approaches for children and youth. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2016 Jun;46(6):172-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cppeds.2015.12.006. Epub 2016 Mar 8. PMID: 26968457.
Reynolds GD. Infant visual attention and object recognition. Behav Brain Res. 2015 May 15;285:34-43. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.01.015. Epub 2015 Jan 14. PMID: 25596333; PMCID: PMC4380660.