Thursday, March 19, 2009

I could not be more thrilled! There is an increase in the amount of information demonstrating the importance of play and interaction in the media recently!
An article printed in Health & Science on March 3rd titled, TV for Babies: Does It Help or Hurt? points out the value of interactive experiences.
The article supports the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics for no television time for toddlers younger than 2. Two different studies on the effects of television on children’s development are discussed in this article. The researchers from both studies state, “TV exposure in babies younger than 2 doesn't do any good.”

Christakis, a researcher on this issue states, “if you want to stimulate your baby’s brain try simply playing with him.” In a recent study, Christakis showed that basic activities like playing with blocks, can improve an 18-month old’s language skills six months later.
Experts worry that time spent watching television and even baby designed DVDs will continue to replace what babies need most in the first months of life, which face time with human beings. “Every interaction with our child is meaningful,” says Christakis. “Time is precious in those early years, and the new born is watching you, and learning from everything you do.”

The goal of Brain Insights is to make the understanding of early brain development common knowledge! It is exciting to see the awareness increasing!

Brain Insights activity packets provide the type of ideas parents are looking for to easily provide fun interactive learning experiences in everyday life. For more information on these unique packets visit


Monday, March 16, 2009

Isn't it great that learning doesn’t have to be serious? Scientific research proves the importance of play in early brain development! Watching this video clip demonstrates the valuable learning that can take place while have lots of fun. (You will probably have fun yourself just from watching this!)

This clip shows the valuable interactive experience this baby is having through simply ripping paper! It illustrates that to provide learning experiences a child does not need to have expensive, flashing toys. Many connections are made in this baby’s brain through a very fun and repeated activity that costs nothing.

Play and laughter activates the care and thinking areas of the brain. These important brain areas are strengthened by having these types of experiences often. It is apparent through watching this, the baby is learning. You can see, through repetition he learned what to expect before the paper was ripped.


The experiences young children receive in the first three years of life are crucial to brain development. When a child receives loving care and stimulation, connections are formed between brain cells. These connections physically wire the brain. It is primarily the early experiences that largely determine the strength and function of the brain's wiring system. Warm responsive parents, who cuddle and talk to their children and provide fun learning experiences, promote healthy brain development for their children.

Technology allows the study of the brain, like we've never seen before. Scientific research demonstrates that a child's early development is determined by his daily environment and experiences, rather than genetics alone. For us to provide the best for all children, we must all understand how a child's brain works and develops. It is critical that this information becomes common knowledge.

Our education system and entire society cannot afford to continue to allow large numbers of children to miss out on the positive experiences they need in infancy and early childhood; the costs in terms of lost potential and increasing rates of emotional and behavioral problems, are too high. Brain research show us what children need; our challenge is to ensure that every child receives it!

Photo by Anissa Thompson


Creating awareness of early brain development is so much fun! Through the increasing numbers of presentations I have been invited to do, I get the wonderful opportunity to share what I am finding people are VERY interested in learning. People are often amazed to realize that 85% of a child’s brain develops from birth to age three based primarily on the experiences in a child’s environment!

Throughout this week I am asking everyone that cares about young children to help create further awareness!! It is so important that everyone understands the fantastic opportunity we have to positively impact the development of young children’s brains.
All it takes is loving interactions and opportunities to play with the people in a child’s life!!

Imagine a world where this knowledge is applied for every child! What a difference it would make now and in the long term. We all benefit from children with well developed brains!!

This week start the habit of talking to people you work with, your neighbors, your family members, and even the person that cuts your hair about the importance of early brain development! Have fun!!

To do my part in creating awareness about early brain development, I will be posting a series of blogs regarding brain development research each day during Brain Awareness Week. To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe to the blog. Also, during this week, I will be offering a 25% discount on brain development activity packets. Learn more about the packets at

Happy Brain Awareness Week!
Photo by Paulo Correa


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The incredible value of play in early brain development!

It is thrilling to see an increase in information on brain development in the media. One recently published article in particular is valuable in creating an understanding of the impact of experiences in the early years. This article discusses the critical importance of play and interaction!

The article, The Serious Need for Play, published in Scientific American, refers to numerous studies that demonstrate the value of play. The article points out that play adds to the development of better language and social skills. Evidence also show that play is effective in the reduction of stress. And additionally, play also is shown to make kids smarter.

Too often it is thought that the best way to help children develop is to plan structured activities. David Elkind is quoted in this article saying, “Play has to be reframed and seen not as an opposite to work but rather as a complement.” He also says, “Curiosity, imagination and creativity are like muscles: if you don’t use them, you lose them.”


The Brain Insights activity packets, I have developed, are designed with this understanding of early brain development in mind. For example:


When I am in an active mood, lay on the floor and let me crawl over you. Let me have a fun time while giving me safe physical play time with you.

Studies show gentle rough and tumble play helps the development of the thinking areas of the brain.


Let me have time to just play, be creative and use my developing imagination. Provide items that are safe for me to use around the house. You might be amazed at the creative things my brain comes up with if I have free play time.

Items to get play started: Put a blanket over a table, give me plastic kitchen containers or utensils, junk mail, packing peanuts, cardboard boxes, etc.

My brain will learn to imagine, and to be curious and creative by having lots of opportunities to just play. Play experiences with real things on my own or with friends helps me also develop problem solving skills.


In addition to the time we spend playing together, let me have time to also play on my own. Watch for times when I am very interested in an activity and let me enjoy it as long as I am interested.

My brain needs to explore things over and over. When I do this my brain learns what to expect from different things I try. Playing alone gives me important time to discover for myself how things work.

You can have play ideas right in your pocket with Brain Development Activity Packets! Even though your life is busy you can have fun times with your child at any time! (In English and Spanish)

Worldwide Brain Team- Making a difference for children!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Reading with a young child is an experience that develops the brain in many ways. Holding the child close contributes to making brain connections for emotional development. Hearing words in a story leads to making brain connections for strong language development. Reading to a child provides interactive learning in a way that television and DVDs can not do.

So in honor of Dr. Suess, the following fun activity ideas are centered around the book, The Cat in the Hat. Each activity also includes insights to explain how the interaction helps to support brain development. These activities provide additional learning opportunities to enhance reading. They are designed for the way children learn best……. Having fun with you!

For more brain insights activities to use even during your busy everyday life go to


O – 1 Year Olds

Show the baby pictures in the book. Point to and name the object in the pictures.

Brain Insight: A child’s language development is based on the amount of language heard daily. The first three years are the critical time in the brain for learning language.

1 – 2 Year Olds

Name items and have the baby point to items pictured in the book.
Examples: Say, “Point to the hat.” or “Where is the fish?”

Brain Insight: Providing learning experiences in a fun and relaxed way can reduce the level of stress chemicals in a child’s brain.

2 – 3 Year Olds

Have the child play a, “Cat in the Hat” clean up game. Give the child directions to follow to pick up items after playing.
Examples: “Pick up the ball, put it in the toy box and crawl back.” Or, “Put the
book on the shelf and hop back.”

Brain Insight: A following directions activity gives a child’s brain the practice it needs to remember more than one direction.

3 – 4 Year Olds

Have the child walk around trying to balance a book on his/her head, as the cat did in the story.

Brain Insight: Movement activities help get more oxygen to a child’s brain. The brain use over 20% of the body’s nutrients and oxygen. Research shows physical activity positively contributes to learning.

4 – 5 Year Olds

As you read a paragraph in the story, stop and say one of the rhyming words. Have the child say the other rhyming word.
Example: Have no fear said the Cat,
I will not let you fall.
I will hold you up high
As I stand on this ball.

You say “fall” the child will say, “ball”

Brain Insight: By the time a child is five a vocabulary of about 2,500 – 3,000 words can be developed. This is an increase from the 50 words known as a toddler. This only happens when a child has the chance to hear and use lots of words through direct interaction. TV and DVDs do not contribute to language development.

5 - 6 Year Olds

As you read the story, ask questions.

Examples: What do you think will happen next?, What do you think will happen if the Cat in the Hat balances more things?, or What do you think the fish will say about that?

At the end of the story ask, “What would you do if your Mother asked you?”

Brain Insight: Brain development is impacted positively when a child is listened to and responded to while talking. Additionally, the highest thinking areas of the brain are developed through opportunities for the child to imagine.
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