Your first- or second-grader

Your child is becoming a reader, writer and scientist—but most importantly, she's becoming an independent thinker. You can help develop her thinking skills by talking, reading and playing games.

Children's reading and writing skills expand amazingly in the first and second grades, but they still learn more from listening than reading, and are better at expressing themselves by talking than writing. This means parental input is still hugely important. It's also a great opportunity for parents to start asking more sophisticated open-ended questions to encourage their child to think about a story or situation. Once they hit school age, children develop the ability to think about much more abstract concepts and complex ideas. They can place things better in time, and have a gradually increasing attention span.

First and second-graders are more able to think for themselves and develop individual opinions, especially as they begin to read and acquire more information through their friends. At this age they are actively engaged in finding out how the world works. They’re a bit like scientists, observing what’s going on and trying out different things. Their learning includes not just the physical sciences (learning about gravity and objects) and life sciences (learning about other animals and human biology) but also behavioral science—understanding how people interact and socialize. Despite your child’s growing independence, he still needs you to teach him and to be there for him as he learns about the world.


  • Board games can really help your child's thinking skills. Kids at this age aren't great at following rules. Go ahead and let him win if seems important to him. Memory games are very good, and help children learn to play on their own.
  • Visit museums and exhibitions with your child to help develop his exploration skills.
  • Puzzles are a great way to help develop your child’s problem solving skills. 
  • Get your child to read for at least 30 minutes a day, both with you and independently.
  • Many children are naturally talkative so it’s good to help them structure their narrative by asking them to describe what they did at school or to make up a story for you.