Welcome to the fourth child brain development blog! This time we will cover elementary school-age children, or those 6-10 years of age. If you are looking for information on younger children, be sure to check out earlier posts in the series on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers ( ). At this point in the game, it seems like brain development isn’t emphasized as much. Just send them to school for writing, math, science, and history and that’s it – right? But your little one’s brain is still growing. Even now our three favorite activities are important: reading, singing, and talking! While they might look a little different than they did at younger ages, they are still just as key to brain development at this stage.
Be sure that your child is reading every day, particularly something that interests them. Textbooks are great, but so are fun stories that inspire the imagination. If you are at a loss for what books are age-appropriate, visit the Children’s Reference Desk in the library. There are booklists for different grades, as well as topical guides and read-alikes. Maybe your child loves dragons or science fiction, or maybe your 2nd grader is reading at a 4th grade level. We’ve got you covered.
You may find that your child isn’t interested in typical chapter books, but rather prefers comics or graphic novels. These are still great for your child’s development, and may help them find an interest in reading outside of school. Below are some popular choices among elementary school-age children.
AMULET: THE STONEKEEPER
By Kazu Kibuishi
In this series, Em and Navin find themselves living in a mysterious house that leads them on magical adventures to save their mom and, later, fight for justice among a society they had previously never known.
BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF
By Lincoln Peirce
Nate is a mischievous middle-schooler, finding himself in detention quite often for his antics. Each of the comics in this series is humorous and fun, while also showing the consequences of acting out in school, making them great for growing kids.
By Dav Pilkey
Dog Man is a superhero who is half dog, half-policeman. His enemy, Petey the cat, provides him with plenty of crimes to fight.
By Raina Telgemeier
Raina tells the story of how her dental problems affect her growing up. She addresses her appearance and self-esteem, making this a very relatable comic for kids in school.
Singing is a fun activity that can transition into other artistic outlets as well, to encourage creativity. While we encourage literacy at the library (and it is extremely important), there are other areas of the brain that need stimulation, and creativity is a huge part of that. Drawing, painting, music, and other artistic activities can help your child make neural connections to improve their memory, social skills, cognitive abilities, and much more. We have great activities in the library, such as Make-and-Take crafts and Kids with Cameras, where your child can be exposed to different artistic techniques to try out.
Talking is very important at this age as well, not just with parents, but also with peers. Socializing with other children helps your child to understand and empathize with others and gain a better theory of mind. While previously your child was more egocentric as they worked on understanding their place in the world, they are now trying to understand their place in the world in relation to others. We never quite stop learning about either of these, but this is a key point in your child’s development. Coming to events in the library, like those mentioned above, provides the opportunity for your child to socialize with other children. We often place them at tables together and encourage them to help one another, so it’s a great experience outside of the typical school setting they may be used to.
If you are interested in learning more about how your child’s brain develops and strategies to help them along, check out the following book.
THE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
By Daniel Siegel
This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth.