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Who is Jean Piaget?

Today’s post is all about Jean Piaget and his theory on how children learn.

Jean Piaget is a renowned psychologist in the early 1920s who spent most of his life studying and researching on the cognitive development of children. His interest in this field began when he was at Grange-Aux-Belles Street School for Boys in France. While marking intelligence tests there, he realized that young children consistently made types of mistakes that older children or adults don’t.

He then proposed a theory (Theory of Cognitive Development) that intellectual growth happens in a process of adaptation to the world. This process happens through 3 stages, namely Assimilation, Accommodation and Equilibration.

Assimilation refers to the use of existing schema (knowledge) to deal with a new object or situation. For example, younger children might point to a cat and call it a “dog”. To them, all four-legged furry animals are classified as “dogs”.

The next stage of learning would be accommodation. This happens when existing schemas (knowledge) does not work and needs to be changed to fit the new situations. Going back to the “dog” incident, parents would then explain to the child why a cat is not a dog even though they may look the same. The child would then alter his/her schema to better fit a standard concept of “dogs”.

Equilibration, as defined by Piaget, is the driving force behind cognitive development. When new information cannot match with existing schemas, we feel frustrated (disequilibrium). This motivates us to seek to restore balance by overcoming the new challenge (to look for answers).

This theory, when applied to education, revealed that children learn through discovery learning, which means learning by doing and actively exploring. So parents, you have every opportunity to guide your child in learning. For a lesson on basic arithmetic facts, you may consider to bring your child out to do grocery shopping with you, allow him/her to calculate the prices and check out at the cashier. For a lesson on characteristics of insects, you may want to go out in the fields for a bug hunt!

This theory also shows that children also learn when they are presented with useful problems that create disequilibrium in them. The more a situation intrigues them, the more motivated they would be to understand and resolve the disequilibrium. However, it is important that problems presented are age appropriate and that your child is guided through resolving his/her disequilibrium. An age appropriate problem ensures that the child is able to resolve the disequilibrium, gain learning success and motivation for learning!

McLeod, S. A. (2009). Jean Piaget | Cognitive Theory. Retrieved from

Enhance Effective Learning with Improved Auditory Attention

Auditory Attention is the ability to attend (listen) to information presented aurally. This is an important skill that would enhance effective learning when improved.
Some behaviour manifestations that are observed in children with weak auditory attention is the inability to stay focused in class and follow auditory instructions/directions.

Continue reading Enhance Effective Learning with Improved Auditory Attention

Kids just want to have fun (even on rainy days!)

The monsoon season is here again! Cracking your brains to think of activities to occupy your kids? Fret not! We’ve compiled a list of 10 exciting activities (or DIY Projects) that you and your little ones can have a whale of time with! *Pictures are owned by the respective sites that the activity was taken from, other pictures are credited respectively.

DIY Laser Beam Obstacle Course (Taken from Molly Moo)

This is a brilliant activity that helps stave off the gloominess of a rainy day and get your kids movin’ like little James Bonds! This activity works mainly on gross motor skills and evaluation skills (planning the next move!)

All you need is a ball of red wool and some tape…
To credit:
Miniature Sites (Taken From At Home With Ali)

This activity would probably take an entire day to complete, but the end product would definitely be worth the while! This activity works on fine motor skills (preparing the miniature items) and relational skills (deciding relevant things to put in the miniature site)

For a more detailed step-by-step procedure, do visit their website!

You could make a miniature garden, playground or forest too!

Some ideas for materials:
– Dyed rice as sand
– Bottle cap as pond
– Shredded green plastic as trees
– Satay stick as trunk

To credit:

Tea Box Circus Train (Taken From Mer Mag)

Make a train set out of tea boxes and cereal boxes (for larger trains)! Step-by-step instructions are available on the website. This activity helps to improve fine motor skills (sticking and cutting) and builds on creativity (decorating the train with recycled items)

These boxes could be used for storage purposes too!

Newspaper Forts (Taken From Modern Parents Messy Kids)

Ideal activity for boys aged 7 to 11. You would only need newspaper and masking tape for this project! This works on the child’s logical thinking skills (how the fort should be formed) and fine motor skills (to tape the newspaper together).

To credit:

Producer for a Day
Get your child to write, direct, act and produce a TV show or a movie! All you need is a video camera (phone video function works just fine!) and some props! Challenge your child to make DIY props for his/her own show!

This activity works on the child’s creative skills (coming up with a plot, creating DIY props), language skills (the ability to put his/her thoughts into words) and sequential skills (creating a logical timeline for the story plot).

View the show together as a family at the end of the day, you’ll be in for some crazy laughter!

Marble Race!
Its like racing cars, except that its marbles instead of cars, swimming noodles instead of car tracks. All you need for this activity would be some swimming noodles (can be found in toys r us or swim stores). They look like this:
To credit:
Slice the noodles into horizontal halves and tape them together using duct tape.
Image Credit: x

Once done, you can attach them around the house (down the stairs, from a double decker bed down to the floor etc.)

Time how long it takes for each player’s marbles to reach the finish line! Or construct two tracks so that players can compete at the same time!

This activity works on visual tracking.

DIY Kaleidoscope (taken from Skip To My Lou)
This next craft is a tedious one… but your kids are sure to be bedazzled by the end product.
Step by step instructions are available on the website. This activity works on fine motor skills (put beads into kitchen towel roll).

Bake It!
A rainy day calls for some freshly baked goodies with a warm glass of milk! Bake (or cook a meal) together with your child and have him/her prepare the ingredients (works on arithmetic math). has a list of child-friendly recipes perfect for such a day! So head over and pick your recipe here! Alternative, you can head over to Martha Stewart food for more child-friendly recipes!

Hide and Seek
No child grows up without playing hide and seek. Its a tradition… a prerequisite, even, for a complete childhood. Its not a tough feat to figure out where the kids are hiding, but play it up a bit and pretend that they are impossible to find! This game works on evaluation skills (where should I hide?).

Play in the Rain!
Playing in the rain is said to relieve stress and engage the child in different sensory experiences! So put on your rain boots with your child and enjoy the rain!

However, if there are lightning and thunders, do be cautious! Ensure that your child is also dressed appropriately (ponchos!) and that he/she doesn’t get too cold!

Enjoy a warm meal and snuggle in bed with a book after that!

Breaking Down Math Papers

For a number of children at ThinkersBox, Math is one subject that they just can’t seem to love. In this post, we would be breaking down the sections of Math papers and relating it to the skill set required to ace each section. In most Math exams, there a 3 sections to the paper, each requiring the use of a different skill set. Continue reading Breaking Down Math Papers

Why Won’t My Child Read?!

The benefits of reading are many. Try keying into the search bar “benefits of reading” and you would see an A-Z list of why children should cultivate a reading habit. But the truth is, not all children enjoy reading as much as we want them to. Some would flip the pages just to humor us, some would only look at the pictures while others go all out to avoid anything with chunky texts. While it may seem that these behaviours suggest a pure disinterest in reading, it is more often than not, the inability to understand what is presented.
Visual Discrimination is the ability to identify differences in information presented visually. Children who are weaker in this skill tend to be unable to distinguish similar letters and numbers such as “b” from “d”, “p” from “q”, “6” from “9” and so on. When presented with a paragraph like this:

“In the morning Abby jumped out of bed and switched on the light in her fish tank. It took Abby a while to find Mr. Sticky because he was clinging to the glass near the bottom, right next to the gravel.”

The child would tend to misread “bed” as “deb”, “bottom” as “dottom” and so on. Children who are weaker in this skill may be able to answer when asked, “What is three plus one” verbally, but he/she may have difficulties doing the same exact question in a math worksheet.

This inability to identify the differences and understand the words would often result in confusion (misinterpreting or misunderstanding instructions), which would contribute to self-doubt and frustration (getting questions wrong as a result of not understanding instructions). If this skill is not strengthened, the child would eventually develop a hesitancy to attempt to read or answer questions.
Apart from being related to reading and mathematics, visual discrimination also plays a role in social interactions, whereby the child is able to identify and interpret subtleties in facial expressions and respond appropriately.
Therefore, the child’s disinterest in reading is merely a behavioural manifestation for the inability to understand what he/she is reading. When children are able to understand what they are reading, they would be motivated to read extensively and would even develop an interest to read (without you asking them to!).
To find out about your child’s Visual Discrimination ability, REGISTER for our Complimentary Learning Assessment.

The Skills for Reading Comprehension (and Following Instructions)

“How many times do I have to tell you to finish your homework early so that you can sleep earlier and be more focused in school the next day!” You may have given your child similar instructions over and over until you are sick of repeating. But it just seems that your child isn’t sick of hearing the same thing. In fact, is he/she even listening at all?!
These behaviours may look like it is an outright act of rebellion. After all, how could it be that a child is unable to understand the same instructions even when told repeatedly?
The truth is, there are children who are unable to understand verbal instructions, no matter how many times it is being repeated. The underlying skill required for this ability is Verbal Sequencing. Children who are weaker in this skill tend to be unable to understand relationships between ideas and concepts. “Why do I have to finish my homework earlier to be more focused tomorrow?”
One academic area that relies on this skill is reading comprehension. Reading comprehension requires the grasping of sequential flow of events happening in the story. When a child is unable to relate the sequences, he/she would not be able to get a logical flow of the entire story. Answering the questions would also require more time and effort (as the child has to reread the story).
Verbal sequencing skill is also required to understand materials taught in class and follow the pace of teaching. If this skill is not strengthen, children would find it a chore to go to school because they just can’t understand the things that are being taught. However, with good verbal sequencing skills, children would be able to learn effectively and would enjoy listening in class!
Interesting Fact: As babies, we acquire language through the use of verbal sequencing. Learning new words phonologically requires the ability to sequence verbal information. This suggests that verbal sequencing is an innate skill that most of us are born with!
To find out about your child’s Verbal Sequencing ability, REGISTER for our Complimentary Learning Assessment.

What is this all about?

Hello there!

This is a blog brought to you by ThinkersBox. ThinkersBox is a company that specializes in cognitive skill set training for children. We believe that in order to help a child learn better, we would first have to understand how the child learns. However having said that, this blog is not created to talk about what we do. It is not about us. What we aim to do with this blog, is to use it as a platform to share with you parents out there some useful resources that would help you understand your child better!

Besides sharing information that will help academically, we would also share some activities that you can do with your child, for example board games recommendations and rainy day activities (stay tuned for that!).

We do hope that you would find these articles and activities useful.

For more information about what we do and the programmes we offer, do visit our website at


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