North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network

Brain Building in Progress

Brain Building Activities: It's Spring -- Let's Go for a Walk!

Your child’s brain grows at an explosive rate during the first three years of his life. During these critical brain-growth periods, long, thin nerve pathways grow inside the brain. These are wirings that connect and carry electrical impulses from brain cell to brain cell. The resulting network, which grows daily in the young brain, forms the neurological foundation of skills that your child will use for the rest of his life. Experiences after birth, in conjunction with your child’s gene, determine the eventual wiring of the human brain. Existing connections eagerly await new experiences that shape the neural networks for language, reasoning, problem solving, and moral values. New experiences build upon established patterns and create new patterns and networks for more learning. Connections that are used repeatedly will become permanent. Those that are not used get discarded.

You can help your toddler jump-start his brain development by engaging in games and fun activities with him. Everything you do with your toddler - playing, talking, eating, walking, reading, cuddling, and singing help jump-start his brain. When you use your imagination with him, for example, you help his brain to make “imagination pathways” of its own. Children remember experiences that have an emotional component. Gentle, loving fun combined with responsive language from you creates an atmosphere in which learning thrives. That's why it is important for you to bond with your child in these activities. Things you do together enhance his learning (among many other benefits). This is something that play-alone high-tech toys like tablets, video games, tv and others will not be able to offer

Below are some brain-boosting toddler games and activities that you can play with your toddler. It is grouped into specific skills that are being exercised. Although a specific skill is highlighted, typically, each game involves developing a combination of skills. Also these activities are meant to provide ideas and inspire you to come up with others. Feel free to make variations on these games. For example, "Trip to the Garden" can be a "Trip to the Beach", or "Trip to the Park". Just make sure that you play with your toddler in a safe environment using safe materials.



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