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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.

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.

Car Clap Off

On the go

Find a certain colour car and clap once when you see it. When your child gets it, change the rules and clap twice when you see it. Then add another colour and clap three times when you see it.

This game calls on your child to pay attention, to remember the rules of the game, and to think flexibly when you change the rules and not go on autopilot, which are all important learning skills.

Car Clappers

On the go

Sitting in a car in traffic makes anyone antsy. So turn it into a clapping game with just a few simple rules. When the radio is on, have your child clap to the music. When you turn the radio off, your child stops clapping and "freezes."

Changing the rules of the game requires your child to think flexibly and respond to new information, instead of just going on autopilot. This kind of focus and self-control is an important skill that we use everyday—even as adults!

Colourful World

On the go

When you’re out with your child, team up with him/her to find colours. Have him/her point to something and name the colour. Then you name all of the things you can think of that are the same colour. Take turns playing this game.

Thinking about what characteristics objects have in common (whether it's colours, shapes, or size) sparks connections in your child's growing brain.

Finger Telescope

On the go

When outside, make a telescope with your hands. Circle your fingers and hold them to your eye and look at your child telling him/her, “I see you!” Show him/her how to make his/her own finger telescope. Take turns looking through the finger telescope and sharing what you see.

This simple game is not only fun, it gives your child the chance to pay attention to his/her surroundings and think flexibly as he/she sees familiar people and things in a new way. Being flexible is a big part of problem-solving and making the most out of life.

Follow Me

On the go

Ask your child “Can you do what I do?” Walk forward or backward, bend down or reach up high. Talk with your child about what you’re doing, like, “Touch your toes and touch the sky!” Then give your child a turn to lead. Change the game and see if he/she can do the opposite of what you do.

When your child follows your actions, he/she learns concepts like up, down, forward, and backward by experiencing them with his/her body. By changing the rules, you challenge him/her to use self-control to stay focused and not go on autopilot, important skills for learning now and in the future.

Follow the Leader

On the go

Walking somewhere? Turn your trip into follow the leader. Ask your child, “Can you do what I do?” while you pat your head. Then play the opposite. If you pat your head, have your child pat his/her stomach. Keep switching from the same and opposite.

The game of doing the same and then opposite actions helps your child remember the rules of the game, think flexibly, and not go on autopilot. This helps him/her learn to pay attention and exercise self-control—essential skills for school and life success.

Fortune Teller

On the go

When driving somewhere, talk with your child about what he/she thinks will happen when he/she arrives: Who will he/she see? What will he/she do? What will he/she do after that? Make it like a conversation by continuing to ask him/her what will happen next.

Back and forth conversations are important in helping your child develop his/her language and communication skills.

Imagination Station

On the go

When you’re waiting at a stoplight or on the subway, make up a story about someone across the street or on the opposite platform. Where is the woman in the hat going? What will he/she do when he/she gets there? Try to elaborate on your child's ideas.

When you are telling stories, have your child think about how the character in the story might think and feel. This will help your child learn how to see other people’s perspectives. It’s a valuable skill that we all use everyday, adults and children!

In The Real World

On the go

When out and about, point out things that you and your child have read about in books or seen in his/her  favourite show. For example, "That backpack looks like the one Dora wears!” or “That train makes sounds like Thomas the Train!”

This game helps your child understand symbols because he/she can see how the things in books or on TV are representations of real life.

In the Right Order

On the go

Have your child look for letters or numbers in a specific order on signs and license plates. You can say, “Can you find a 1 and a 2 next to each other?” or “Can you find an A and an E next to each other?” Take turns and see who can find the most.

Your child must pay close attention to his/her surroundings to find letters or numbers and keep track of what he/she has seen and how many times. Your child is also using his/her working memory to remember the correct order to look for.

Listening Game

On the go

When you’re out with your child, talk about sounds that are all around you. When you hear a sound, tell him/her what you hear and describe where you think it is. “I hear a bird and I think it is in that tree.” Ask him/her what he/she hears and where he/she thinks the sound is coming from by telling you what he/she hears. Take turns being the leader.

When your child listens and identifies what he/she is hearing, he/she is paying attention and learning to connect words with sounds, which promotes language skills. By going back and forth together, you are reinforcing his/her learning.