5 Activities for adolescent cognitive development

The current blogpost will be based on the question “What are activities for adolescent cognitive development?”. We will list the various activities that are suggested to adolescent’s cognitive development. We will also discuss each activity in detail and describe its effectiveness.

What are activities for adolescent cognitive development?

Cognitive development in adolescent’s means the ability to think, judge, decide and plan the growth in cognitive development that happens along the body development in adolescent years. The cognitive development that happens during the early teen years is very much different from the one that happens during the late teen years.

During the early years of adolescence concrete thinking develops. Concrete thinking is related to  concrete operations and is related to various objects and events. The cognitive development based on concrete thinking includes : 

  • Combine (add)
  • Separate (subtract or divide)
  • Order (alphabetize and sort)
  • Transform objects and actions (change things, such as 5 pennies = 1 nickel)

However the cognitive development that occurs in the late adolescence years is related to complex thinking and development of higher cognitive functioning. The formal logical operation is a type of cognitive ability that develops in late adolescence. This includes :

  • Do abstract thinking. This means thinking about possibilities.
  • Reason from known principles. This means forming new ideas or questions.
  • Consider many points of view. This means to compare or debate ideas or opinions.
  • Think about the process of thinking. This means being aware of the act of thought processes.

Cognitive development that occurs in Early Adolescence (11-14)

The following cognitive development occurs in early adolescence :

  • Develop a personalized way to communicate as they imagine they can make their own decisions. 
  • They’ll learn better how to tell you why they are thinking what they are thinking, and doing what they’re doing.
  • Focus on personal decisions as they start understanding that parental authority is not absolute.
  • Question parental authority, why rules are made, and why rules of society exist.

Cognitive Development through Middle Adolescence (14-18)

  • Adolescents question authority more extensively as they distinguish between issues that authority figures have the right to regulate and issues that are their own personal choices.
  • link current behaviors to future consequences.
  • imagine their own identity and role in the world.
  • make their own plans.
  • consider complexity related to events and scenarios
  • Ethical and moral principles are learned and practiced

Cognitive development through the Late Adolescents (18-24)

The following cognitive development occurs through the late adolescence :

  • Make early career decisions 
  • plan for their role in the adult world.
  • Can apply their views to global concepts like justice and equity.
  • balance their idealism with reality-based constraints.
  • comfortable debating their ideas and opposing authority.

Activities to boost cognitive functioning of adolescents

Following activities can be used to boost the cognitive activities of the adolescents :

  • Vocabulary building
  • Playing cards
  • Puzzles
  • Dancing
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Learning new skills
  • Listen to new music 
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Mediate
  • Learn a new language

Vocabulary building

The first exercise that helps the adolescents with cognitive development is vocabulary building. The vocabulary building exercise is related to memory, learning and retention.  It also enhances language development . 

In vocabulary building exercises the brain wernicke’s area and broca’s area are involved. This more than one part of the brain gets stimulated through this exercise and helps students with cognitive development. 

In this activity the adolescents are encouraged to read newspapers and books. They are asked to keep dairies along. Whenever the adolescents come through a new word, they are asked to mark the word and look it up in a dictionary. The adolescents write all the new words with meaning with themselves.

Playing cards

Playing cards has been a great cognitive strengthening exercise for adolescents. A quick card game like Uno, solitaire, poker and hearts can lead to greater brain volume in several regions of the brain. Through playing cards the adolescent’s thinking, judgement and memory skills get significantly improved. 


Puzzles have been considered as an activity to enhance and improve an individual’s cognitive ability. The puzzles are based around various cognitive abilities that strengthen logical reasoning, abstract reasoning  and visuospatial coordination.  Puzzles enable the adolescents to exercise their brain and cognitive functioning.


Dancing is a way to enhance the brain’s processing speed. It also increases the strength of an adolescent’s memory. Research evidence suggests that dancing enables us to exercise our brain through activities like salsa, zumba or freestyle dancing. It also enables the adolescent to enhance the neurotransmitter release in the brain.

Sensory stimulation

Sensory stimulation among the adolescents is a great way to help the adolescents to  enhance their brain development and cognitive functioning. Involving adolescents in activities that simultaneously help them involve their 5 senses enable them to enhance their cognitive abilities. Through involving vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste the adolescents learn and practice the various parts of their brain.

Learning new skills

Learning new skills can help adolescents to strengthen memory. Learning new skills enhances cognitive functioning as the learning, retention and retaining strengthens various parts of the adolescent’s brain that improve and enhance cognitive functioning.

Listen to new music 

Listening to music is an activity that improves the cognitive functioning of adolescents. Research studies have concluded that  listening to happy tunes among adolescents can help them crack their mood swings and lower their unpleasant emotions. This also enhances their innovative problem solving skills.

Learn to play an instrument 

Adolescence period is a great way to start learning new skills. Learning to play an instrument helps the adolescents to overcome their mood swings and solitary lifestyles. The adolescents get to experience the instrument learning as a new phase in life that they achieve through their content practice and involvement.  

Thus learning these new skills of playing an instrument helps adolescents to improve their cognitive abilities.


Meditation is a form of exercise that helps in strengthening the brain.  Daily meditation can help adolescents to reduce their stress and anxiety that has a direct effect on their cognitive functioning. Thus the brain is in a better form to process new information and perform cognitive processing. 

Learn a new language

Learning a new language helps the adolescents to enhance and flourish their cognitive abilities. Adolescents learn new languages by using various cognitive abilities like comprehension, learning, storage and memory retention.


The current blogpost was based on the question “What are activities for adolescent cognitive development?” We learned the various activities that can be used for cognitive development of adolescents. We also discussed each activity in detail.

Frequently asked questions :activities for adolescent cognitive development

What activities promote cognitive development in adolescence?

The following activities promote cognitive development among adolescents: 

  • Include him or her in discussions about a variety of topics, issues, and current events.
  • Encourage your child to share ideas and thoughts with you.
  • Encourage your teen to think independently and develop his or her own ideas.
  • Help your child in setting goals

What are some cognitive development activities?

Following are some cognitive development activities :

  • Hiding and finding objects.
  • Nursery rhymes, stories, and sing-alongs.
  • Letter and number games.
  • Simple routines and procedures.
  • Sorting sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • Matching games and puzzles.
  • Arts and crafts.
  • Playing outside and visiting places

What are some examples of cognitive development in adolescence?

Some examples of cognitive development among adolescents are :

  • Higher cognitive functioning
  • Abstract thinking
  • Ability to argument 
  • Ability to critically evaluate and analyze
  • Ability to debate
  • Ability to discuss and decide

What are four examples of cognitive activities?

Following are th e4 examples of cognitive activities :

  • Attention
  • Comprehension
  • Judgement
  • Mindful walking
  • Problem solving

What cognitive processes are used in daily activities?

Following are the cognitive processes used in daily activities :

  • Thinking
  • knowing
  • remembering
  • judging
  • problem-solving





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