Round and round we go, sometimes fast and sometimes slow!

Have you seen children twirl around, again and again and again, spinning fast and slow until they feel giddy? Well, little children love round shapes, in fact the first squiggles that a little toddler draws on a piece of paper are round squiggles. The first shape he/she recognizes are round shapes.

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A round ball may be your child’s first toy and the first shape that he/she recognizes. But is a ball round in shape or is it a sphere?

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Yes, we commonly confuse balls as round, circle and sphere shaped. The ball is a sphere, a biscuit is round and a circle is what a teacher tells children to  form by holding hands  in  class. So,  a sphere is a 3 dimensional shape, round is a flat shape and a circle is the outer circumference of a round shape.

And children should always be taught both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes together! Yes this was advocated by Froebel the Father of Kindergarten and he would give children 3 dimensional shapes  and have a song for each shape and so did Maria Montessori. She has ‘shape insets’ to teach children about flat shapes and she would recommend giving actual solid 3 dimensional shapes to children to hold and feel. This helps children better understand geometry in the later years.

The next time you want to buy a learning gift for your child, buy some Montessori toys.

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Children love everything that looks round in shape; the moon, round biscuits, a ball. But some round shapes are good and some are bad! So lets explore the good and the bad round shapes that your child may experience:

  1. Round biscuits are fine but not if they are too salty or too sweet like many cream biscuits.
  2. Round pizza is very unhealthy for children unless of course mummy has made it at home with  vegetables.
  3. Take your child and his/her favourite toy- the ball (sphere) to the garden and have fun with your child.
  4. The merry go round is a good activity for children to be involved in.
  5. A round watch or clock is good to teach your child the concept of time.
  6. Round sugar sweets are not good for children.

 

  • Have fun going on a treasure hunt with your child, create three columns on a paper- write round, circle and sphere and then go around the house and try to identify as many shapes as possible and when you find these three shapes, write down the names of the object in the correct column.
  • Similarly with other shapes teach your child the names of the 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes, so try to find these too:
  1. Square – what is the 3 dimensional square called?
  2. Triangle- what is the 3 dimensional triangle called?
  3. Rectangle- is there a 3 dimensional rectangle? What is it called?

 

Have fun with the round shape family and by doing this you will be giving your child a firm foundation of geometry for life.

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Hop…..skip…..jump!

Children are always on the move, even when we expect them to sit straight!

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But here it is important for adults to read the following line- “Small muscle exercises stimulate brain growth”- so what we call ‘fidgeting’ and ‘hyper-active’  are just a child’s body requiring that movement to stimulate the neuron connections in his/her brain. This blog is dedicated to this tendency in children that always keeps them active and on the move. So let’s help kids hop…skip….and jump, after all it’s good for your child’s brain!

When a child starts fidgeting it is a clear  sign that his/her interest in the activity has started waning and so we need to stimulate the child.  Sometimes we need to ask children to get up, to turn around or to raise their hands and shake their fingers to get them to focus once again.  Children love movement, well we cannot blame them, they have just learnt to walk, to run and to jump and so naturally they would like to do these activities all the time, unless you get them interested in something that is more engaging than these new found skills!

Ten ‘brainy reasons’ why children should HOP…SKIP….JUMP and play:

  1. Touching, feeling, exploring, making and breaking are all activities that enrich the senses and this helps the brain develop new synapses.brain 1
  2. Free play, or play that involves choices, logic and thinking skills helps enhance the frontal lobe.
  3. The hand and the brain need each other: neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain and a brain is in search of a hand,” as stated by Mr. Wilson.
  4. The use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development.
  5. Imaginative play and role play are all part of symbolic play. Symbolic play is when aTe whariki 6 child can use a symbol or an object to represent another item, for example he/she uses a piece of block as a pretend telephone etc. When a child is able to experience symbolic play he/she will definitely be able to excel in reading and writing activities as reading is basically about representing a picture or a story through symbols (all letters and words are symbols).
  6. All play should be fun for kids as positive emotions enhance memory  and no play should be stressful or too competitive as our bodies release harmful chemicals under stress and these chemicals are not good for the brain
  7.  Play that is self-initiated, involving trial and error, problem solving skills, and cause and effect are good for developing the brain’s neural pathways.
  8. Play helps develop children’s language skills as the more sensory based experiencesbanana-phone the child has, the more the child will want to talk about their play and hence language development will be enhanced.
  9. Memory increases by revisiting information frequently- so play often, as children like to play the same games everyday, which is fine as long as they are interested in the game.
  10. Cross lateral movements keep both sides of the brain working- so the more creeping, crawling and marching play activities your child does, the better for his/her brain. How? Cross laterals are arm and leg movements that cross over from one side of the body to the other. Since the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa, the two sides of the brain are forced to communicate when the legs and arms cross over.

 

Help children hop, skip and jump and also develop their smarts.

 

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Why does my child refuse to share?

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Sharing and other social skills are part of social development, which includes  being able to participate in group activities, knowing how to behave in a group, how to wait for a turn and how to ask for things etc..(manners).

Children learn by imitation, so first of all the care giver must have the highest social skills.Social development is a process, it happens in steps and is also a product of the child’s observation. Hence social skills are best enhanced keeping in mind the developmental stage of the child and exposing him/her to the right environment, role models and activities for social development.

Play is the work of childhood and children learn through play. Play also defines the social development of the child. There are different age related stages of play, we are listing them into three broad categories:

1.Solitary play

2.Parallel play

3.Group play

 

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During the solitary play stage a child wants to be alone while playing, he/she gets irritable even if there is another child sitting near him/her, so you can forget about the

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child wanting to share their toys! This stage usually lasts up to 2 years and some children may move on from this stage at an earlier age whilst others may remain in this stage for a longer period of time. This depends on the environment and a lot of other factors. Children at this stage should be given their own toys and if in a school environment, then all the toys given to kids at any given time should be similar because children get irritable about ‘their space.’It is important to distance the children from each other and hence over crowded classrooms with less toys don’t work well for these children and they tend to be irritable and unsociable.

At the parallel play stage the child is now ready to have another child sitting near him/her   but still wants his /her  own toys, ( and even the the other child’s toys, it’s a stage of me, my, mine). It’s o.k if you put the child next to me, but see that he /she does not touch my toys!!!!!  This stage occurs between the ages of 2 and 3 years but sometimes children may continue to want to play in this way till the age of 4 years. scene-of-cute-girls-playing_23-2147610247

At the group play stage kids now enjoy playing in a group, but have yet to form an understanding of rules and regulations.

 

Now keeping these in mind, you can imagine how difficult  it will be for a child in the solitary play stage to be taken on a play-date where he/she has to share! Or for a child in the parallel play stage to share the swing or the slide whilst playing in the park. Due to the age of the child and the stage of play, it is but natural for children to throw tantrums when they are expected to play in a way that doesn’t match their stage of play.

 

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98% of my brain develops in the first five years. What are you doing to nurture it?

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The brain is a wonderful organ, and everything that we are and become depends on our brain development. More so for little kids as at this very moment a baby’s brain is buzzing with neuron growth and connections are being made and strengthened. Sadly most parents are ‘kept away’ from this informative knowledge about how to nurture the brain of their child. Yes, feeding them an omega 3 rich diet will help, but your child’s brain requires more than that. So here are 18 facts/ideas that many parents don’t know about  the developing brain of their child.

  1. At birth, all of your baby’s organs – the heart, lungs, kidneys- are fully developed, but they are smaller than an adult’s organs. All except one- the brain. human brain
  2. Between the sixth week and fifth month of pregnancy, your baby’s brain grew about 100 billion cells! Some of these brain cells are connected at birth, but most are not.
  3. During the first five years of life (and afterwards at a slower rate), your child’s brain is hard at work connecting these brain cells.Blue swimming pool rippled water detail
  4. More than three quarters of the brain is made up of water.
  5. Scientists tell us that there are times when certain parts of the brain can learn new information more easily than at other times, they call these times windows of opportunity. Some of these windows open and then close during the first few years of life.
  6. Some ways that your child moves can actually improve his/her learning! When your baby crawls, your toddler plays patty-cake, or your preschooler dances with scarves, both sides of the brain are crawling babyput to work. This is important because both sides of the brain are used in many learning skills. So movement can help prepare your child to learn.
  7. Never shake your baby! Shaking may cause your baby’s brain to swell, bleed, or bruise.
  8. Also, don’t throw your baby into the air, even though you are just playing. Hurting your baby’s brain by shaking or throwing may cause learning disabilities, blindness, seizures, mental retardation, and even death.
  9. Positive emotions enhance memory as our bodies release harmful chemicals under stress, these chemicals are not good for the brain.
  10. Diet activates memory.fruits 2
  11. The brain needs to be properly hydrated in order to be alert
  12. Aromas and colours also stimulate mental alertness and memory.
  13. Small muscle exercise stimulates brain growth. No wonder children are fidgety, constantly moving their fingers and toes!
  14. The more multi sensory the activity, the more likely the child is to process the learning activity.
  15. adee6b753386a2d074466d93bb12754cSleep time is important for brain development, as the brain organizes all the incoming material, otherwise lack of sleep can lead to confusion and loss of what is learnt.
  16. Breast-feeding your baby for the first twelve months of life can boost his/her IQ by up to 8 points. If you can’t breast-feed or have to stop early, be sure to use a commercial infant formula that is fortified with brain-boosting nutrients.
  17. Feed your toddler an optimal diet to enhance brain growth. Even a slight deficiency in a key vitamin, mineral, or nutrient (such as iron iodine) during the time when the brain is going through its spectacular growth spurt can result in a lower IQ, poor test scores, depression, and even teen drug abuse down the road.
  18. If a child is stressed out, unhappy, under-stimulated, poorly nourished, or exposed to brain toxins in the  environment, important neural connections will die and the child’s brain will be less efficient, and simply stated, he/she will not be as smart.

Start building your child’s brain today…you are a Brain Builder!

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Picture source: http://www.stanfordchildrens.org

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