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What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
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Ten Brain Building Activities to Raise Smarter Children - Part II

By Andrew Loh



Here are some more brain building activities that could help your children better and efficient brains.

Teaching visualization techniques

Children can learn effectively by seeing and doing. Visualization is a process of seeing or making picture of an object, shape or pattern. This unique skill is special one because some of the gifted children posses it. However, you can still teach this skill by facilitating and simulating conditions that favor this learning.

Teaching drawing and painting - Drawing, painting, sculpturing, clay arts are some of the best activities for developing visualization and imagination. Bring home painting and drawing materials like paints, brushes, erasers, watercolors, color gels and others. Take your children to a park and show her or him trees, animals, water ponds and other objects and ask to draw figures either by using a color pencil or brush. Give colorized clay materials to make shapes and patterns. This will help your children develop motor and imagination skills apart from eye to muscle coordination.

Activities that promote physical well-being

Different exercises promote better learning in children. Children who are proficient in exercises and physical activities are better in spatial learning tasks like finding complex escaping techniques through a maze. All children who exercise on a daily basis have a heightened mood experience that also enhances learning. Recent research findings suggest us that exercise boosts higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is so essential for optimal growth of nerve cells and birth of new ones. They also suggested that the factor of brain's plasticity increased by enhancing mobilization of the expression of genes. Another positive aspect of enhanced exercise regimen is the guaranteed improvement of executive functions that help in enhancing attention, plan and prevent distractions.

Enhancing critical thinking skills

Six major critical thinking skills could be developed in children by asking the right type of questions. Learning these skills will also help the children develop their brain functions. The basic, six critical thinking skills are as follows:

Concrete critical thinking skills -

  1. Knowledge

  2. Comprehension

  3. Application

Abstract critical thinking skills -

  1. Analysis

  2. Synthesis

  3. Evaluation

Knowledge: Knowledge skills need children remembering or recalling previously learned information to create either right or wrong answers. To train your children for knowledge skills, you may want to ask the right type of questions like what, when, where, how, how many, detect, identify, elaborate, tell, explain, highlight and recite.

Examples:

  • How many apples in a dozen?

  • How many seats are there in that row?

  • Tell me the date when the First World War started?

Comprehension: Understanding the real meaning of a topic is comprehension. When your children understand the real meaning of information, then he or she will learn the basics of comprehension. To fine-tune comprehension, you may need to use words and phrases like estimate, predict, guess, differentiate, and other similar words. With this skill, your children will be able to translate, dissect, interpret and extend the available knowledge materials.

Examples:

  • Tell me how a seed becomes a plant.

  • When the First World War started, who was the President of the United States.

Application: When children apply any previously leaned information to fresh and new situations, he or she will be developing a critical thinking skill. You may need to use right phrases like illustrate, demonstrate, show, solve, examine, segregate, classify, experiment, deliberate and other similar words.

Examples:

  • Compare between an apple and the shape of a globe and describe the differences.

  • What did the President do when there was the First World War.

Analysis: When the available information is broken down into smaller chunks, your children will be able to understand the organizational structure of the topic. You should ask the right type of questions that concentrate on breaking the given topic into understandable chunks.

Examples:

  • What is the difference between a red apple and green apple? Do they differ?

  • Compare and differentiate two important contributions made by the President during the First World War.

Synthesis: When your children apply previously learnt knowledge and skills to fuse them into an understandable pattern, and then they will start enhancing those areas of the brain that synthesize the information. Some of the trigger words are combine, fuse, gel, rearrange, design, create, invent, find and other similar words.

Examples:

  • Would an apple grow in a small plant? Now that you know more about apples, what would you say about those trees that do not give apple fruits? Give some example.

  • If another World War occurs today, what would the President do and how would he act to prevent the war from happening.

Evaluation: When you children how to judge, evaluate or decide based on some set or specific criteria without committing any right or wrong answers, then they would develop those areas that possess skills of making an evaluation. The right type of trigger words are decide, assess, select, choose, explain, contrast, compare, summarize, pool and other similar phrases.

Examples:

  • What do red and green apple have in common?

  • What would happen if there were no World Wars?

Apart from these simple brain-building activities, you may also like to use a number of other such activities to build brain functions. Some of them are as follows:

Verbal games that improve general brain functions

  • Guess now: "Guess now and tell me which bird has long multi-colored feathers and brilliantly colored body?"

  • Take an inventory: "Yesterday, how many pebbles did you collect?"

  • Take the odd one out "Mouse, CPU, keyboard and book"

  • Follow direction and stick to it: "Take one step towards the dining table, turn right, take four steps to the bathroom and brush your teeth"

  • Create categories and segregate: "toothbrush, soap, water and then what (your children will shout bath).

  • What comes after "eggs or chicken, seed or fruit, seed or flower?"

There are hundreds brain building activities that you can use to train your children's brain for optimal performance. You can choose the best one and start using them in your home by becoming a teacher to your children.

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Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten: Build a Better Brain and Increase IQ up to 30 Points
By David Perlmutter Ph.D, Carol Colman

Between birth and age five, your child has up to thirty IQ points at stake. Scientists now know that the human brain is undergoing a constant and dramatic transformation in the first years of life. During this peak time of development, every activity and experience leaves an indelible mark on your baby's brain, for better or worse. The right kind of stimulation and nutrition will create connections in the brain that promote intelligence and raise IQ. The wrong kinds of activities and foods can stifle intellectual development, destroy brain cells, and leave your child more vulnerable to learning or behavior problems down the road. So, what can you do during the first five years to ensure that your child is primed to excel?

The good news is that raising a smarter child is easier than you think. It doesn't require making an investment in expensive equipment or high priced tutors. It's as simple as playing the right games, serving the right foods, and maintaining a brain-enhancing environment in your home by eliminating common household toxins. In Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten by Dr. David Perlmutter, you'll learn easy and highly effective strategies that can vastly improve your child's brain power and reduce his or her chances of developing ADD and ADHD.

 

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