Our Favourite Brain-Boosting Toddler Activities

The first six years of a child’s life are crucial for all areas of development including brain development. As parents and carers of children, we want to help young toddlers and set them up on a path for success by developing their learning and stimulating their memories and concentration skills.

Brain-boosting toddler activities are the best way of doing just that and we’re about to share some of our favourite with you so keep reading!

  1. Building Blocks

Toddlers find it so hilarious when they build up a tower of play blocks and then knock them all down. If you have played with building blocks like Lego or something similar with a toddler, you will understand exactly what we mean.

Again and again, they will want to re-build their “tower”, “castle” or “house” of blocks and, each time, the structure eventually come crashing down. If this is something your toddler enjoys, it’s an activity that you should encourage.

Building with play blocks helps children to build their knowledge of directional language i.e. “up”, “down”, “left” right”, “here”, there” and requires the brain to develop strategic thinking. A child will be forced to engage in problem solving by having to answer questions such as “which block will fit on top of another block?” and “will the blocks tip over if I add this shaped block?”

  1. Play dress-up

Few activities help to stimulate imagination and encourage creativity among toddlers like fancy dress. Playing dress-up isn’t just about allowing your toddler to wear their favourite Princess or Superman costume again and again.

Put together a chest of different items and encourage them to come up with different “characters” based on the items and props inside. Dressing up is fun, it gets them thinking and it gives a child an opportunity to express himself/herself in so many different ways.

  1. Organise a scavenger hunt

Most children only get to experience a scavenger hunt once a year whether that’s at Easter or Christmas time. That’s no where near often enough for a really fun group activity that encourages and supports healthy brain development.

Scavenger hunts don’t have to be extravagant. You can simply send your toddler on a fun mission around the home, perhaps with a little treat at the end as a reward.

Send them off in search of 5 red items, or a specific list of common items like a pair of socks, a book or a towel. It helps to familiarise a toddler with different types of colours, objects etc. and it encourages their analytical and problem-solving skills in a really fun and effective way.

  1. Duck, Duck, Goose

It’s an age-old game but it remains a classic for many reasons. Games like “Duck, Duck, Goose” aren’t based on winning so toddlers are unlikely to shy away fearing losing as a result.

A game with such a simple concept is a good introduction to gameplay for toddlers as it teaches them to understand and play by rules, while improving motor skills, making them aware of their surroundings and strengthening their attention span.

  1. Hide and Seek

Another classic game that is a huge hit with toddlers is Hide and Seek. It’s an excellent brain boosting game as each player is always engaged and learning.

The hiding toddlers will need to think strategically and think fast of a suitable place to hide where the seeker will have difficulty finding them. The ‘seeking’ toddler will need to think about where the hiders could be, visualise places in the house where they could potential hide and demonstrate spatial awareness. There’s a lot more to a game of hide and seek than you think!

And that completes our list of our 5 favourite brain-boosting activities for toddlers. How do you combine learning and fun for your little one? We’d love to hear from you!

Choosing the Right Child Care

Parents are endlessly worrying about the child care options available to them, and for good reason. There have been many reports in the media about substandard child care centres so it goes without saying that the most responsible thing a parent can do with regard to this issue is to choose a child care provider carefully.

Why this is so important is because all the experiences your child has during these early formative years will have a major impact on the person they eventually turn out to be. We all want the best for our children, so the mission is to choose child care that helps the child to positively thrive while avoiding negative experiences as much as possible.

In this short guide, we’ll tell you some of the things that can indicate the quality of child care you can expect from a provider based on what you can see. With places for child care so fiercely competitive, getting it right the first time is definitely a goal worth striving for.

Find Child Care Before You Need It

If there’s just one tip you take away from this article, this is the one it should be. Child care places fill quickly (the good ones at least) and you need to make sure you’re at the number one position on the waiting list. That means it’s best to start your search before your child is even born, as that way you get to check more thoroughly and you’ll also be ahead of those who leave it until later to get onto the waiting list.

Choose a Provider With a Structured Curriculum

Some child care providers just let the kids run around as free spirits, and while that can be a fun experience, it doesn’t help your child to gain the best from his or her formative years. This is the most important time in your child’s life, and a daycare provider that can provide a fun educational environment is much better than one that doesn’t care much about providing opportunities for learning.

If you’re not sure why that’s so important, it’s because of the way the brain develops. A newborn baby has more than 20 billion brain cells. That’s an amazing fact right there. The problem, however, is that the actual number of brain cells is far less important than the number of connections that exist between those cells.

Experience of any kind will trigger neurons to fire, and when a group of neurons fire together, a neural pathway is formed between these neurons. The more frequently and intensely groups of neurons fire together, the more neural pathways get formed, and the better that brain is able to function.

Conversely, and somewhat frighteningly, neurons that don’t fire will wither and die. By the time that newborn baby is a year old, many billions of brain cells will be already gone, but more importantly, far more neural pathways will have been forged. The pathways are the key to a highly developed mind, far more important than the number of cells.

By giving your child the optimal chance to gain positive experience in a supportive learning and social environment, brain development will be more advanced than would otherwise be the case.

Child care providers such as the aptly named Thrive Early Learning Centres are a perfect example of the type of child care services that give children the best chance to thrive and grow.

Find out about the meals provided

Good Child Care Centres will provide meals that support healthy growth and will encourage good eating habits. If the child care provider regularly serves up unhealthy or unappetising meals, they’re either cost-cutting or clueless, and neither is best for your child.

Go with the provider that demonstrates a good understanding of nutrition, and that can answer your questions positively.

So There You Have It

It’s pretty simple really. Get off to an early start by locating a provider in advance of your need, check they have the proper credentials, look for a structured curriculum, make sure there is adequate supervision, check out what food is offered, and look for smiles. That’s really how easy it is to locate a good child care provider.