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.

Before and After

Meal time

Talk back and forth with your child about how foods change as you cook them. Show your child how a pancake or tortilla goes from doughy to solid or how pasta or rice boils and becomes soft. Let him/her touch them before and after (once cooled) and talk about it.

Showing your child how food changes invites your child to hold information he/she knows about the food and see and understand how it changes when cooked. This conversation promotes working memory and critical thinking.

Colourful Meal

Meal time

As you feed your child, put a bright dishcloth, towel, or scarf over your shoulder. Does he/she notice it? Does he/she look back and forth between your face and the colours? Talk to your child about the different colours or patterns as he/she does.

A colourful Meal creates a change of scene that invites your child to notice the details of what is going on around him/her. Paying attention is an important skill for learning.

Cooking Lessons

Meal time

No matter what you’re cooking, your child can be a helper. Give your child a play-by-play of the ingredients you're using and if it’s safe, let him/her touch, smell, or taste them. Have a conversation about what you're making: "Red pepper makes the beans spicy."

Talking about everyday activities as you do them helps build children's communication skills—and their brains! Be sure to point to objects as you say their name to help your child learn new words.

Dinner Bites

Meal time

At dinner, have some fun with your child by counting each bite he/she takes of his/her dinner. After the first bite, announce “one!” in a silly voice. If he/she knows numbers, make a mistake (“one, three”) and see if he/she can spot your mistake!

Children learn about numbers when they match them with real things, like bites of food. Your child is also learning that numbers go in a certain order, especially when you make a pretend mistake and he/she tries to catch your mistake.

Favourite Flavours

Meal time

As you eat with your child, describe the flavours you both are eating. “The fruit is sweet. The pickle is sour.” Make a face that goes along with it to make it more fun. You can also talk about which foods you like the best.

When your child hears you describe the foods you’re eating, he/she is making connections that will help him/her learn new words and what they mean. Your child is also learning about what you like and don’t like. This is important in learning to get along well with others.

Feed Me!

Meal time

Encourage sharing and taking turns by asking your child to feed you, too. After your child takes a bite say, “My turn!” Open your mouth and see if your child will give you a bite. Say, “Thank you!” and then prompt your child to take a turn. Your child will love having a turn at being in charge!

When you and your child take turns, you are modeling the back and forth of communication, which will help your child as he/she learns to talk and read. He/She is also learning about relating to others in a fun way.

Feeding Memories

Meal time

When breastfeeding or giving your child a bottle, use that time to tell him/her a story of something happy you remember from your childhood. When your child has finished eating and responds to your voice, make the same sound back to him/her.

Your voice is your child's favourite sound. Even though your child can't say words yet, he/she is listening and learning what sounds go together in words, which is an important foundation for language later on.

Glass Half Full

Meal time

When your child drinks out of a glass, have a back and forth conversation about how full the glass is. Is it a little full? Half full?

When you have a back and forth conversation about how full the glass is, you’re helping your child gain basic ideas about math. It can also help him/her learn new words!

Guess How Many?

Meal time

Invite your child to guess how many seeds will be in an apple when you cut it or how many pieces of orange there will be when you peel it. Count the seeds or slices together and compare his/her guess to what you both discovered. What other foods can you use for this guessing game?

In this guessing game, your child is using early science skills to predict the number of seeds or slices, count them, and then compare his/her prediction to what he/she discovers. Your child is also learning to estimate numbers, an important concept in math.

Hand Talk

Meal time

Show your child how to tell you he/she is feeling hungry by touching his/her hand to his/her mouth or rubbing his/her belly. If you do this over and over and then give him/her food while saying the word “hungry,” your child will pick up the symbol and learn to talk to you with his/her hands.

Children can express themselves with their hands (for example, by pointing) long before they can use words. Helping your child learn to use “Hand Talk,” will help him/her learn to communicate with words in the future.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane! 

Meal time

During snack time, tell your child his/her finger food snacks are airplanes and make them “fly” around until he/she opens wide so you can land them in his/her mouth. Make plane noises and talk about whether it is flying high, low, or in circles.

Your child is learning to focus by watching you bring his/her food to his/her mouth. As he/she learns to feed himself/herself, he/she can also pretend his/her food is flying into his/her mouth.

Kitchen Music

Meal time

When you are cooking, let your child create an instrument using a plastic container with measuring spoons or keys inside. Clap a certain rhythm and ask your child to try and copy your beat with his/her homemade instrument. Then have your child take a turn at leading, and you follow his/her beat.

Going back and forth in a game like this helps your child pay attention and remember the pattern of noises. It's a great brain builder!