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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.

Daily Do-Over

Bedtime

Bedtime is a great time to look back on all the fun you and your child packed into the day. So tonight, ask your child what his/her favourite parts of his/her day were—like stepping in a puddle or popping bubbles at bath time. Then share yours with him/her—he/she will love hearing about your day!

By reflecting on your day together, you are helping your child build his/her vocabulary and his/her memory skills. And by sharing an event from your day you are giving him/her a peek into the world of adults.

Getting Sleepy

Bedtime

At bedtime, invite your child to close his/her eyes and imagine relaxing just one toe, then one whole foot, then one leg and keep going through his/her whole body. Afterward, talk together about how he/she feels and give your child a turn to lead you through relaxing.

As your child focuses on slowly relaxing the body, he/she is practicing skills like paying attention and controlling behaviour. You’re also supporting your child in learning strategies to help him/her relax in other situations.

Mirror Play

Bedtime

Brushing your child’s teeth? As you look in the mirror, talk about how your faces are the same and different. You both have two eyes and a nose, but yours are bigger. You both can make funny faces. Make a funny face and see if you can make him/her laugh!

Comparing how your faces are the same and different helps your child learn to sort objects and experiences into categories. Sorting information into categories is important for reading, math, and science. And this game builds the connection between you!

Pocket Cleaners

Bedtime

Let your child help you empty your pockets at night. Take out the items that are safe to share with him/her one at a time. As you do, tell your child about your day and where the item came from. For example, "This card is how I get on the bus to go to work.”

Children love to hear about adults' days—especially the good things that happen. By sharing stories, you’re helping your child learn about your world and building his/her vocabulary too!

Recap the Day

Bedtime

Turn bedtime into a reflection of your child’s day. Ask him/her if he/she got dressed or ate breakfast first. Tell what you remember too. If you want to be playful, switch the order: “You went outside and then you got dressed.” Have him/her correct you.

Helping your child describe parts of his/her day helps him/her build his/her communication skills.

Secret Letters

Bedtime

As your child lies down at night, slowly draw a letter on his/her back with your fingertip. Can he/she guess what it is? Repeat the letter again. The more you practice this together, the better you will get! Soon you will be ready to write whole words!

Your child learns about the world through his/her senses and through back and forth conversations. In this game, you are giving him/her a chance to make connections between not only how letters look but also something new—how drawing a letter on his/her back feels!

Shut Eye

Bedtime

Try getting dressed for bed in a new way. Ask your child, “What if we closed our eyes while we put on our pajamas for bed tonight?” Stay close by your child to make sure it’s safe. Afterward, share what it feels like to get dressed “in the dark!”

When your child is challenged to not use his/her eyes, he/she is using different senses and different parts of his/her brain to learn about what it’s like for people who can’t see. This promotes thinking and talking about other people’s lives.

Silly Faces

Bedtime

After brushing your child’s teeth at night, play a silly game together in the mirror. Ask him/her to make a funny face and then imitate him/her. Then switch and have him/her imitate your silliest face. There’s no limit to how much fun you can have together!

Taking turns imitating each other gives your child practice paying attention to your silly face so that he/she can copy it. Paying attention helps your child concentrate and focus—important skills when it comes to learning and solving problems.

Singing Time, Calming Time

Bedtime

As you’re putting your child to bed rock him/her gently and sing softly to him/her. Pay attention to how he/she tells you he/she wants more singing. Does he/she turn his/her head toward you? Smile? Move? What does he/she do to say “enough”? Cry? Turn away? Take note of how to respond to his/her cues now and in the future!

Singing to your child before bedtime is like a calming conversation using music. You sing, he/she responds, you respond etc. He/She is learning how it feels to calm himself/herself, which is an important life lesson.

Thankful Tidbits

Bedtime

At bedtime, take turns with your child listing things you’re thankful for. Here’s an easy one to start with, "I'm thankful for you!" Then, help him/her think of something he/she is thankful to have in his/her life. See how many times you can go back and forth.

Every back and forth conversation builds your child’s brain. After he/she says something, repeat it back in complete sentences. And did you know that paying attention to what’s positive in your life has been shown to lead to more happiness and satisfaction? For both of you!

Tiny Tent

Bedtime

Grab a blanket to make a tiny tent at bedtime. Pretend to be camping outside with your child. Say: “Shh … what do you hear? See? Smell? What do you think is happening outside our tent?” Afterward, snap a pic of your child at your campsite!

Pretending is very important to learning—it helps your child to imagine, be creative, and take the perspective of others. And it's fun!

Toothy Twosome

Bedtime

When brushing your teeth, have your child be your partner. Let him/her brush his/her own teeth first, then give him/her your toothbrush so he/she can help brush yours. Ask, “Can you help me brush my teeth? Can you brush the ones in the front, and then the ones on the sides?” Take turns!

Sharing a moment and taking turns is one of the most important ways you can promote your child’s learning today and in the future.