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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.

Clothing Choices

Getting dressed

Does your child want to choose his/her clothes? Help him/her by giving him/her two choices: “Do you want to wear your blue pants or your green pants?” When your child chooses, congratulate him/her by saying, “Great choice, I like those too.”

Limiting choices in the early years sets your child up for success as a decision-maker, a skill he/she will use his/her whole life. You’re giving your child the control he/she wants and needs yet protecting him/her from being overwhelmed. This lets him/her focus on thinking.

Dressing Mix-Up

Getting dressed

When you’re helping your child get dressed, play Dressing Mix-Up, by asking things like: “Do your socks go on your hands? Do they go on your feet? Put them on your hands, and pretend your hands are feet.”

By playing this game, you’re turning dressing into a routine that’s easier to manage and fun for both of you. You’re also helping your child learn where different clothes go as well as the skill of matching things that go together.

Dressing Play

Getting dressed

Even if your child doesn’t seem to understand, tell him/her everything you’re doing as you get him/her ready in the morning. Start with how you picked his/her clothes and go from there. Make eye contact and respond back to the sounds he/she makes.

Think of yourself as a sports announcer—one who responds back with sounds and faces. These back and forth conversations are helping your child bond with you and begin to associate words with his/her experiences.

Dressing Steps

Getting dressed

Dressing your child? Describe each step of the process. For example, “First we put your leg in the pants. Then we put in the other leg. Now we pull the pants up.” Pause after each step so your child can move his/her legs or stand up to help you or make a comment.

Your step-by-step description invites your child to focus on the details of getting dressed. By pausing, you’re giving your child practice in waiting and controlling his/her behaviour as he/she begins to learn to get himself/herself dressed. And talking with your child is always a brain building moment! These are important life skills.

I Pick, You Pick

Getting dressed

When you’re getting your child dressed in the morning, pick out his/her pants and then ask him/her to find a shirt that matches the colour of those pants.

This game helps your child make connections and group like things. Your child might have a good reason for why things go together. So listen to his/her ideas. If your child’s idea won’t work, explain why.

Lip Lesson

Getting dressed

As you dress your child, copy the sounds you hear him/her make, like “ah, eee, ooo, bee, dee.” How does your child respond? As you make a sound, place your child’s fingers on your lips so he/she can feel the vibrations and movements of your lips. Try different sounds as you do!

Touching and listening to sounds fosters your child’s interest in listening and communicating. It’s never too early to begin playing back and forth with sounds. It won’t be long before you are having back and forth conversations with real words.

Name That Clothing

Getting dressed

Try getting dressed a new way this morning! Lay your child’s clothes out, but instead of asking him/her to find his/her pants, ask him/her, “Can you find the clothes you wear on your legs? On your feet?" Keep playing until your child is dressed.

This new way of dressing gives your child practice using information he/she is holding in his/her mind—what scientists call your child’s “working memory.” Using information you know in different ways helps lead to success in school and success in life!

One Shirt, Two Shirt

Getting dressed

Try giving your child some options today. As you’re getting dressed give him/her a choice between two shirts. Ask him/her why he/she likes the one he/she has chosen, where he/she remembers wearing it. What else has the same colour or pattern?

Helping your child explain why he/she made the choice he/she did helps build his/her reasoning and communication skills.

Tissue Talk

Getting dressed

While getting dressed this morning, give your child a tissue to carry in his/her pocket. Talk to your child about what tissues are used for as you each pretend to blow your nose. Make funny sounds!

When you ask your child what tissues can be used for, you’re helping him/her think about how things can help us achieve a goal—like keeping our noses clean. Did you ever imagine that a tissue in the pocket could promote thinking skills of making a plan and reaching a goal?

What Are YOU Thinking?

Getting dressed

What is your child looking at? “Yes, those are my shoes. And that is my hat. Do you want to try on my shoes and hat? I’ll help you!” Take turns! “Can you put my hat on my head? Now try your head. Look it is too big!” 

Your child is learning about which clothes belong to you, and which belong to him/her, and he/she is learning the concepts of small and big. When you laugh about putting your hat on your child's head, you’re also promoting his/her sense of humour.

Where's Your Hand?

Getting dressed

Put one of your child’s socks on his/her left hand, saying, “Where’s your hand?” How does he/she respond? Wave his/her hand? Look at it? Next, put it on the right hand. Does he/she respond in the same way or do anything differently?

As your child discovers the answer to “Where’s your hand?” he/she is practicing paying attention. Your child is also practicing controlling his/her hands and fingers. Focusing is an important skill in learning.