Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
Please enter a search term

Share

Brain Building Tips

Vroom distils early learning research into bite-size activities that support children’s brain growth from birth to age five. With the backing of the Bezos Family Foundation, vroom.org was developed by a group of dedicated scientists, community leaders and trusted brands, with input from community organisations and families, early childhood experts and neuroscientists.

A Changing Conversation

Nappy change

When you’re changing your child, make a funny sound. How does he/she respond? By smiling? Kicking his/her legs? Making a sound? Try a new sound and see what he/she does. Keep adding new ones to the mix!

Back and forth conversations can happen even without words. You are teaching your child about how conversations work. First one person speaks, then the other. This is an early and important lesson about the pleasure and skill of communicating—a skill that’s important in school and in life.

A Tall Tale

Nappy change

At his/her next nappy change, tell your child a silly story about the tallest little child in the world while stretching his/her arms over his/her head.

Your voice is your child's favourite sound. Even though your child can't talk back yet, he/she is already taking in your words and using them to build the foundation for language later on.

Acting Out

Anytime Anywhere

When your child does something that he/she should NOT do, tell your child why he/she should not have done it. Then ask your child to draw a picture of what happened on a piece of paper. On the other side of the paper, have your child draw what he/she could have done in a better way. Talk about why this new idea would be a better choice.

Using this strategy changes your approach from “dealing with misbehaviour” to “promoting learning skills.” When your child comes up with new solutions, he/she is learning not to go on autopilot but to think of more effective ways to deal with problems.

Alphabet Moves

Playtime

With your child, go through the alphabet and make the shape of each letter with your bodies. The letter “A” can be a triangle with your arms above your head and your legs standing wide. Ask your child to make the letter “B” with his/her body. Take turns making the other letters!

Your child must use focus, self-control, and memory to recall the shapes of letters to represent them with his/her body. Through firsthand experience, he/she is learning about language and literacy.

Animal Game

On the go

While waiting for the bus or in line say, “I'm thinking of an animal” and provide clues to help your child guess what animal you're thinking of. For example, “I'm thinking of an animal who lives in our house and has black and gray stripes.”

Playing “I’m thinking of …” helps develop your child’s working memory, including his/her ability to recall names and details. It also turns waiting time into a fun learning activity.

Babble On

Anytime Anywhere

Don’t be afraid to babble. When your child starts to make noises, treat it like a real conversation and mimic the sounds right back. See how many times you can go back and forth!

All kinds of “conversations” help to build children’s brains—even when they’re still learning how to talk. By following your child’s lead and responding, you spark the connections he/she needs for language and communication later on.

Babbling Baby

Playtime

Does your child babble or make lots of sounds? This is a first step in learning to speak. Set these sounds to music. If he/she is saying, “Ba, ba, ba,” sing this sound to “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” or another tune. Watch his/her eyes light up. Guess what? His/Her brain lit up, too!

Your child will love the fact that you’re singing along with him/her. By doing so, you and your child are having a conversation with sounds, which helps him/her listen carefully and copy you. This gets him/her ready for conversations with words, which will lead to better reading skills.

Balancing Feat

Playtime

Take turns with your child standing on one foot and then the other, trying to balance. You can say, “Your turn,” and “My turn.” See if you can do it with your eyes closed. What else can you do?

You and your child are having a conversation with actions as you take turns standing on one foot, then the other. When your child practices doing this, he/she is learning about balance—what it takes to stay steady and not fall down.

Bat It

Nappy change

Hold a small safe toy over your child’s head as he/she lies on his/her back wearing his/her fresh nappy. Make a soft noise and jiggle the toy. Does he/she bat at it with his/her hands? Try to kick it? Answer his/her actions with another sound and gentle jiggle.

As you play this fun game with your child, he/she is learning to pay attention and to pursue a goal: hitting the toy with his/her hands or feet. It’s amazing to think that a baby so young is already developing thinking skills he/she will use the rest of his/her life.

Bath Bottle

Bath Time

Give your child a clean plastic bottle to play with in the tub. How many different things can he/she do with it? Push it under the water? Fill it with water? Float it like a boat? As he/she tries something new ask him/her, "What do you think will happen?"

Your child likes to make things happen. And it's even more fun when you watch and share his/her pleasure by having him/her guess what will happen as he/she discovers more about his/her world and his/her impact on how things work. When he/she plays this way, he/she is thinking like a scientist.

Bath Count

Bath Time

When your child is in the tub, think of all the things you can count together. For example, the number of splashes he/she makes or the number of times you pour water on him/her. Take turns counting and talk about what you are doing.

Counting small numbers of things helps your child understand that numbers go in a sequence, from little numbers to big ones.

Bath Routines

Bath Time

Create fun and simple bath routines with your child. For example, every time you feel the temperature you can say, “Splish, splash!” When the bath is over, shake the washcloth saying, “Shake, shake.” Look for ways to add to the bath routine.

Regular routines marking the steps of bathing help your child know what to expect and what’s coming next. If you use these words in other ways (shaking salad dressing or drying dishes), you are helping your child apply what he/she has learned to new situations.