Sunday, July 7, 2013

Encouraging Little Brains

I'm currently reading this great book called Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids by David Walsh, Ph.D. Though I'm making my way through it very slowly, the book is very readable and had my full attention right from the first chapter. It's titled "Our Children's Amazing Brains." If you've been a parent or a conscious observer of any child for more than a day, you've likely already learned that truth. I am often in awe of how much, and how fast, kids learn. One of the things I like best about David's book is that he helps the reader discover what encourages children's learning and what is not necessary, such as doing flashcards with your kids when they are two or signing them up for every activity under the sun.

Several times throughout the book, David writes, "Whatever the brain does a lot, the brain gets good at." What helpful and important information for all of us. I'll write more about other learnings from David's book again soon, but for now, I just wanted to pass on a few activities I've come across that not only facilitate healthy brain development but are also a lot of fun. And easy! Both of these activities involve magnets, so keep them away from kids who still put everything in their mouth. Esme has been fascinated lately with magnets, so these are perfect for her.

1. Cut up a bunch of pipe cleaners and put them in a jar.  Use a magnet to move them around inside the jar.

2. Glue a piece of magnet to each piece of a puzzle. Put the puzzle on a cookie sheet and let your child go to town. Not only doesn't this corral all the pieces, it makes putting together a puzzle something you can do just about anywhere.

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