In addition to their studies, high school students often participate in sports, extracurricular activities and social events. Many teens also devote time to after-school jobs and personal interests. With so much to stay on top of, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and disorganized. Help your teen improve and maintain focus with games that promote cognitive abilities that improve concentration, attention and memory.
Brainteasers will give your teen a mental workout. Brainteasers challenge players with deceptively simple-looking tasks, such as matching, recalling and identifying patterns. These objectives, however, test and improve focus by requiring the player to use speed, and reflex and logic skills, which, when played regularly, improves concentration, attention, reaction and other cognitive skills. Challenge your teen to complete one or two brainteasers per night from an activity book or website. Riddles, and puzzles also stimulate and exercise cognitive abilities associated with focus.
Video games have a reputation for being detrimental to children’s focus, but when age-appropriate video games are played in moderation, they can benefit teenagers’ cognitive development. In addition to improving hand-eye coordination, video game play also improves players’ abilities to solve problems, make choices, apply information, multitask and create strategies, according to a 2011 ABC News report. A study performed by the Office of Naval Research found that video game players perform up to 20 percent higher in cognitive ability than non-players. The American Federation of Scientists recommends video game play for children, noting that they promote, among other cognitive abilities, higher-order thinking skills.
Physical exercise is essential to healthy teen development in several ways. Not only does exercise keep bodies fit and in shape, but it also enhances the mind by supplying more oxygen to the brain, stimulating brain cells and chemicals and promoting the ability to process and recall information. Get teens outside and promote social skills as well with a little friendly competition. Challenge teens to relay races, jump rope or hula-hooping contests, a game of tag, Frisbee or volleyball or other games that encourage physical activity.
Board games such as chess, checkers and backgammon aren’t the only ones that promote concentration, focus, strategy and problem-solving skills. Even casual, silly games for a group of players can promote cognitive abilities such as improved memory, concentration and focus. Laughter and lighthearted play during family game night stimulates areas of the brain associated with creativity and learning while encouraging socialization a factor that promotes brain health, including memory, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study.
Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.