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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Ten Brain Building Activities to Raise Smarter Children - Part I

By Andrew Loh

Scientists and child brain experts believe that brain development is dependent on the number of activities that the parents introduce in the early life. In other words, the efficiency of brain is directly related to the quality of exercises and activities that the children get when they are in their young age. Experts also believe that children must use their brain to enhance its abilities. In absence of quality activities, children may lose their abilities to sharpen their intelligence and intellect. In simple words, your children must use their brain or else loose all those brain qualities that help them live a productive life.

The extent or degree of brain development in children is also dependent on the number of "individual experiences" that they face in their childhood. Their brain grows, enlarges and thrives with each new experience like seeing brand new things, hearing fresh sounds or indulges in meaningful activities. Creating a helping ambiance will help your children to experience different things around them and use them judiciously to enhance brain activities.

Here are different brain-building activities that help your children build their own smart and intelligent brains:

Note: Not all brain-building activities are created equal. Some of them are different from the others.

  • Activities that demand your children refine their senses and engage in novel experiences that can enhance release of additional amount of neurotrophins;

  • Activities that want children to plan ahead and think like playing chess, scrabble and strategy games; these activities stimulate the frontal sector of their brain;

  • Activities that require children learn and master short range spatial and logical skills like ballroom dance, salsa, folk dance, basket ball or volleyball; these activities teach children how to think and act in a restricted space;

  • Activities that involve learning new languages and dialects that need active participation of different areas of brain;

  • Activities that need children to visualize something and draw or paint patterns and portraits;

  • Activities that enhance physical well-being of children; these activities will involve sports and exercises and they will enhance the absorption of extra amount of oxygen;

  • Activities that enhance critical thinking skills.

Brain building in children involves using all the above-mentioned activities either singly or in different combination. No one activity can assume prominence over the other. However, experts recommend using all these activities in equal measures so that you can ensure a gentle mix of developmental activities in all areas of the brain.

Five senses activities to realize self

Children can sharpen their brains by learning and discovering. Children always learn by using their five senses. Without these senses, children may not be able to know or recognize what things really are. Parents may want to teach their children everything about five senses; the more they know about these senses, the more efficient their lives will be. Here are some activities that may enhance your children's brain development:

Testing taste - Testing taste is catalyzes olfactory nerves that eventually improve the sense of perception. Try blindfolding children's eyes and feeding them different types of foods. Let them try to find out what they are and identify the basic tastes.

Detect sounds - Repeat similar test but with make sounds by using different objects like a bell or spoon. When children identify the source of sound, they will be improving their listening abilities, which work best in classrooms.

Nature watching - Outdoor activities are very good for children. Let your children try to identify different objects like trees, people, animals, patterns and other shapes.

Feeling for soft or hard - Tactile senses will improve making out which is harder and which is soft. Place different household items in front of your children and ask them to identify by their feel and texture.

Activities to planning and thinking

Planning and thinking are two most important skills that can enhance different brain functions. When children learn how to plan, they will be able to master the art of thinking ahead of time. Planning will also help develop the frontal lobe of the brain where basic thinking skills originate. It means that both these skills are interrelated and dependant.

Playing chess - Playing chess is a wonderful way to develop critical thinking skills. Chess can enhance mathematical power as well as geometrical skills. Chess is a three-dimensional game that involves several mental faculties like lateral thinking, imagination and visualization.

Playing scrabble and strategy games - Like chess, even scrabble and strategy board games develop planning and thinking skills. Particularly, scrabble is a wonderful game that teaches how children can create strategies, planning and thinking. Board games teach how to find solutions to escape from a tricky or risky situation.

Learning and mastering short range spatial and logical skills

Short range and logical skills are very important for developing short-range memory power that is required to do better in a classroom. Short-rage memory retrieval techniques also help children in developing scholastic skills like answering questions on the instant and providing answers to questions that are objective. Logical skills are important for debate and argument sessions of a classroom. Logical skills teach children think on logical lines to provide valid reasons for events that occur around them. Logical skills are intellectual skills that make a real personality.

Learning ballroom dance, salsa and folk dance - Ballroom, salsa and folk dances are learnt in restricted space. Children who learn these dance forms have impeccable skills of using short-range spatial skills that require immediate retrieval of information from memory. In addition, they also teach children logical skills; experienced dancers know how to find the best solution for a given situation.

Playing basketball or volleyball - These two games are played in small and restricted area where players move in a packed team. Players will have to use their brains to find out the best playing move and strategies. Winners are those who know how to use the restricted space for greatest effect. In fact, such games are very beneficial for planning, building strategies and finding out techniques.

Learning new languages and dialects

Languages and dialects are the tools for proper communication among different people. Learning different languages will improve literary skills, develop analytical/thinking skills, and enhance lateral thinking, self-esteem, confidence and resilience. Learning a new language is also a great skill.

Teach language at an early stage - when you children are very young, introduce basic language elements like alphabetic letters, syllables and vocal expressions.

Read bedtime stories - Buy picture filled storybook and read the stories when your children are going to bed. Reading bedtime stories is wonderful way to catalyze children's imagination and thinking skills.

Continue to read Ten Brain Building Activities to Raise Smarter Children - Part II here!


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