Parents must challenge and encourage the development of children’s brains beginning in infancy and continuing through adolescence. In the early years of a child’s life, the brain is constantly growing day-to-day. Getting little ones involved in certain activities will help stimulate neurological development; of course, trying to convince a youngster to focus on textbooks with this argument won’t go over well. Luckily, below are some hobbies kids can incorporate into their routines that are both fun and enriching.
Listening to music encourages brain development in infancy. The subtle tones in classical music provide enough stimulation to increase creativity with a tempo that is slow enough to reduce stress. Classical music also has a calming effect, which helps put babies to sleep and keeps them from experiencing sensory overload.
As children age, learning to play a musical instrument improves brain function even more. Countless studies have shown that playing an instrument has proven to improve cognitive functionality, IQ, language learning skills, etc. Counting notes corresponds to counting in math, and children with a musical background score highly in mathematics. Even striking a drum as a baby sparks creativity. Playing a musical instrument teaches problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and a sense of accomplishment after perseverance. If you have a young child, it might be best to introduce them to an instrument that has less difficulty so they won’t become overwhelmed and want to “give up.” There are plenty of affordable options geared specifically to younger beginners; you can find drums, xylophones, shakers, keyboards and musical recorder instruments here.
Art allows young children to explore new textures, bright colors, and nurture brain development. Painting is a simple form of artistic expression that even older babies grasp. Non-toxic finger paints, or ones made at home from simple ingredients in the kitchen, allow time for parents and children to bond over new expressions. Though simple at first, as children age, the amount of analytical and reasoning skills they apply to this hobby will naturally increase. Even young babies enjoy the feel of paint on their fingers and the image created. As an added bonus, self-esteem starts to build as children complete projects that they start and see it lovingly displayed on the home’s walls.
Physical exercise increases the flow of blood and oxygen, which is vital to brain development. Exercise needs to be age appropriate though. Infants get a cognitive boost just by feeding; however, creating a bicycle motion with the child’s legs when they’re awake is a great way to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. As babies grow into toddlers, there are many activities to encourage neurological progression through physical exercise, such as dancing, running, and playing hide-and-go-seek.
Reading to young children, even babies, encourages proper brain development as it increases verbal skills through speech pathways in the brain. The more words babies hear, the more likely they are to have a better vocabulary when they finally do begin to speak. Use books with brightly colored pictures to increase visual stimulation as well. Reading also opens up new doors to fantasy and creativity for young children. Reciting books with them each day when they are young sets the habit for them to continue this intellectual activity as they grow.
Babies learn through their senses as their neurological development increases. Children then apply these skills learned to further their development with more challenging tasks. An environment that encourages proper neurological development from an early age prepares children to succeed later on in life.
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