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


Left Brain vs. Right Brain: Activities to Boost Both Sides of the Brain

By Andrew Loh

Both lobes of brain are entirely different, when you consider their activities. Both lobes are important for leading a balanced life. However, in nature, one side of the brain might be stronger than the other side. Things are not different among children. With a growing brain, children tend to show a remarkable difference between the two lobes of the brain. While the left side is important for classroom and academic activities, the right side is important for others. For an optimum life performance, parents should try to train their children, to develop both sides of the brain. It may look very difficult to carry out this activity. However, concerted efforts will help you achieve your cherished objectives. Here are some simple tips to train your children to streamline their brain activities. The art of whole brain training is quite difficult, because you will be dealing with two different lobes of brain, each with its own specialties and capabilities.

The whole brain learning is a system of developing overall neural development, by improving nerve connections between two lobes of brain. This will eventually result in establishing a much stronger and robust mind-body nerve pathway. The whole-brain training not only relates to classroom and academic performance. It also deals with a number of other skills and capabilities, other than academic and scholastic abilities. A wholesome brain is the one that performs better under any conditions including academic, social, logical and psychological.

Social relations

To improve social skills, you may need to include activities that help your children learn how to make proper choices, plan and decide and become independent in life. Most children, who are right brain endowed, are somewhat poor in expressing themselves in front of other people. Here are some activities that enhance the left-brain abilities:

Play scrabble and word games: Scrabble game is relaxing and it extends the vocabulary power of a child. Sit down with your child and play a game of scrabble. Help your chidden to construct simple words and syllables. Explain the meaning of words in a simple manner. If possible, ask them to use the words by making simple sentences.

Example: If the word “please” is created, ask your children to use that word in a sentence. The sentence could read like this, “Please give me a cup of milk”.

Debate and exchange ideas: Debating on a particular topic is an excellent tool to learn how to speak in front of others. When someone is debating or exchanging ideas, they can apply their brain functions to express themselves, so that everyone will understand their mind. Debate is also a big stress buster and it can eradicate the fear of appearing on the stage as well.

Role-play: Role-play enhances confidence level and boosts social interaction among young children. Give a topic to create a session of role-play. It could be a session at the post office, where one of your children will be become the Post Master, while others, clients, who seek some services.

Enhance creativity

Creativity is a cornerstone of life. Without creativity, people will be like walking and breathing vegetables. In addition, creativity is a tool to create something that could be unique and special. Right brain children are very creative and they can create simple things out of nothing. On the other hand, left-brain children are rather poor in this area.

Clay modeling: Clay modeling is perhaps the oldest brain-boosting activity in the history. Clay modeling has the ability to streamline creative functioning area of the brain, like imagination, image building, holistic approach and hand-eye movement coordination. When your children play with models and clay, their finger movements become stronger, which is the primary need to develop creativity. To be creative and artistic, very young children in the age group of 3 to 6 years should develop proper hand movements especially the thumbs. Stronger thumbs mean that they have the ability to hold objects properly without any unstable movements. All painters and sculptors have very strong and stable thumbs and fingers.

Example: Experts suggest that young children should pluck grass from your backyard garden to strengthen fingers and their movements. Holding a pen or a pencil will also help them learn and master finger and hand movements. Drawing and painting with different objects like crayon, oil paints and watercolors will help them understand the major differences between colors and their combination. Let them draw whatever the image they want and color them. With this activity, they can see the world as a whole. Imagination is another positive aspect that comes naturally to such children. Give them models of different things and ask them to relate with natural objects. They should be able to recognize different objects by sight, sound, touch, feel and smell.

Language skills

Language skills come naturally to left brained children. They have very strong affinity to converse with other people and express their minds. On the contrary, left-brain children are quite poor in this side. The most important goal is to train your children in the area of communication and acquisition of basic languages.

Examples: Dialogues and communication are the two most important activities. Ensure that you talk to your children everyday to improve their language skills. Communication comes easily to those children, who develop speaking skills by talking to other with confidence and courage. Pick up a topic and start a dialogue on it. Make sure that your children speak more than you do. They should ask questions and answer yours. Verbal skills will also be fine-tuned in this way. Give them drawing competition by giving a particular topic. They should be able to draw some images and write their explanations below each image. Storybook reading and learning signs and symbols are the other left-brain boosting activities.

Spatial relations and movements

Spatial relationship is an extraordinary brain skill. On the other hand, spatial movement is an offshoot of spatial relationship and it can enhance right brain power. Children, who are strong in this skill, are capable enough to analyze different information bits and create a meaningful spatial sequence. Introduce several activities to enhance this special brainpower.

Examples: Anchored movements like twisting, bending, rocking, and arm swinging and picking up objects from the ground, are some of the simple activities that will help your children in many ways. Running, jumping, hopping, skipping and walking are the other activities that can enhance spatial thinking. Train your children on how to act upon directions. Give them some directions and follow them; this activity will help them learn symbols and decipher codes and hidden meanings.

Brain boosting activities for a whole-brain development come in many forms and patterns. However, what you want to use will depend on what exactly you want from your children. In many cases, parents want to enhance the right side of the brain, because it relates to better academic and scholastic performance at the school. One thing to remember is very thought-provoking - your children will need an all round brain development. Concentrating on just one area of the brain may turn to be counter-productive. If your child is left-brain strong, you will have to work very hard to improve the other side. In fact, these children always pose a big challenge to their parents.

Featured Resource

Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Strategies for Helping Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children to Thrive at Home and at School
By Katharine Beals, Ph.D

Dr. Beals, is an educator and the mother of three left-brain children. A former public school teacher, she is a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her writing on parenting has appeared in Mothering magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Philadelphia.

This book brims with sound, practical advice for nurturing children who don't fit into the commonly accepted patterns of "normal development", yet possess remarkable gifts. A must-read for parents, educators, and mental health professionals. Dr. Beals shows parents how to campaign for left-brain friendly education reform, advocate for their socially awkward children.


Unicorns Are Real: A Right-Brained Approach to Learning (Creative Parenting/Creative Teaching Series)
By Barbara Meister Vitale

This mega-best seller provides 65 practical, easy-to-follow lessons to develop the much-ignored right-brain tendencies of children. These simple yet dramatically effective ideas and activities have helped thousands with learning difficulties. Includes an easy-to-administer screening checklist for parents and teachers which enables them identify individual learning preferences and determine hemisphere dominance.

Learn how to utilize colors, shapes, movement, visualizations, touch and sound to help students of all ages learn to read, tell time, add, subtract, and even spell correctly. Included are engaging instructional activities that draw on the intuitive, nonverbal abilities of the right brain, a list of skills associated with each brain hemisphere, and much more.


Featured Resource


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