By Ritesh Rawal
Modern parents often seek new and advanced ways in which they can help their child hone their mental and cognitive abilities. It’s an uphill task to look for new means, activities, institutions and dynamic individuals who can enable their wards to chart the swifter course of growth and development.
However, as with many other things in life, at times the answer to life’s vexing issues doesn’t lie in complicated solutions, rather simpler ones. A child’s brain development too falls in this category. Modern technology and specialised equipment have arrived only in the last few decades. Before this period, brain development was boosted by every day activities. Suffice to say that these simple solutions are little wonders with massive potential towards brain growth.
Research has proven that a major percentage of the human brain develops in the 0–5-year age bracket through various explorations, interactions and activities a child engages in.
Let us explore five of these “miraculous mundanes”. Just don’t be surprised to see any of these. They do actually work.
Looking in the mirror
Allowing the tiny tots to look in the mirror is a major self-discovery exercise. The young one learns lessons in self-identity – gazing at eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, hands, limbs, all of which are an enigma to them at that stage. This activity helps them in making social and emotional connections at a later stage. Parents can encourage their children to smile at the mirror to develop a cheerful countenance.
Children love climbing surfaces. They must not be discouraged unless it is too dangerous for them. This may be climbing a dining table, a shoe rack, a slab, a shelf or anything harmless. The natural instinct of the young ones is to explore and while undertaking the climbing activity, chisel the key physical skills of balance and coordination. Here, parents can facilitate the process by getting play equipment tailor made to cater to this need.
The ever so exciting activity of blowing bubbles is known to instil a sense of intrigue, curiosity and scientific temperament in the brain of children. Adding to these benefits is the creative, artistic and mathematical skill development. Parents can help children mix and match the solution at home using detergent powders. Children may seize this as an opportunity to learn even more. When they see the creation process, they may seek answers to why detergents create lather, what are these bubbles, how come they float in the air, what makes them burst, so on and so forth. Some parents like to add new colours to the bubble solution mixture for adding greater fun and zeal.
Scribbling and painting
Engaging in painting or scribbling is another pursuit towards healthy brain development. When children create a flourish with crayons or pencils, they are not only learning tools to kickstart their writing journey but helping build small-muscle skills and hand-eye coordination. Painting develops their eye for colour, helps their brain make sense of how ink or colour imprints on paper. Scribbling would also give them a fair guess at what would happen if they try to wiggle the writing/painting tools too fast and what is the best way to write safely, sanely and neatly. They also learn the correct way of holding these writing instruments to create a legible output. Parents can facilitate these creative learnings by providing safe crayons, colours, canvasses, pieces of paper, scrap books and other necessary apparatus using which the tiny tots can make the most of this opportunity.
Playing with clay and rocks
If parents can ensure the provision to organise germ-free mud or clay environments for their munchkins, it will open an abundant window of learning opportunities for them. A safe natural world is a whole learning platform in itself. When left to experience the elements by themselves, especially wet mud or clay, children tend to feed their curiosities by rubbing on it, creating shapes and patterns, etc. Getting more creative, kids can even start digging and dumping the mud. Here, parents can aid the intrigue by providing a magnifying lens so the tiny tots can gaze at dirt, rocks and small creatures up close.
All said and done, parents don’t need to seek far and wide for avenues to aid development of their child’s brain. Excellent means of brain growth may be lying closer home.
(The writer is Founder of Dudes & Dolls World, and Adhyay School)