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The ideas hub.

A child's brain is a remarkable little creature forming more than a million neural connections every second when activated. Babies learn through spending time with their parents and other special people in their life. Here are some ideas to help create meaningful moments with your child. These meaningful moments, especially if they occur early in a child’s life and often, build strong brains, providing a strong foundation for their life.

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Ages 1-2

What’s That?

Planning and routines

Does your child point and say “dat?” Ask them, “What do you want?” Pick them up and have them lead you to what they're pointing at. When you find it, you can say, “That’s a spoon!” or “That’s the light switch!”

Ages 1-2

What’s That?

Planning and routines

Does your child point and say “dat?” Ask them, “What do you want?” Pick them up and have them lead you to what they're pointing at. When you find it, you can say, “That’s a spoon!” or “That’s the light switch!”

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From infancy on, children pay attention to the intentions of other people and want to tell you their intentions. Pointing and saying “dat” is a first step toward learning the skill of communicating intentions. You can help children learn this by finding what they want and naming it.


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Ages 4-5

Today’s To-Do

Planning and routines

Talk back and forth with your child about the plans for the day. Talk about what you're having for breakfast, where they're going for the day, what you might do, and what they hope to do today.

Ages 4-5

Today’s To-Do

Planning and routines

Talk back and forth with your child about the plans for the day. Talk about what you're having for breakfast, where they're going for the day, what you might do, and what they hope to do today.

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There is no better way to learn how to plan than practicing. When you give your child the chance to think ahead about the day, you invite them to call on what they already know and apply it in flexible ways to a new situation.


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Ages 2-3

Use Your Words

Relationships and communication

Does your child get upset and start to cry and whine? Remind them to use their words to say what is bothering them or what they want. If they're too upset to talk, try to guess what they want to say until they let you know you “got” it!

Ages 2-3

Use Your Words

Relationships and communication

Does your child get upset and start to cry and whine? Remind them to use their words to say what is bothering them or what they want. If they're too upset to talk, try to guess what they want to say until they let you know you “got” it!

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Helping your child learn to communicate their upset feelings in words is one of the most important tools you can give them for managing these feelings, and expressing themselves in ways that can be understood and responded to.


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Ages 3-5

Move Like Me

Attention and focus

Ask your child to imitate you as you walk, jump, clap, or bend down to touch your toes. Then see if they can do the actions when you just say the words. Challenge them by going fast and slow or adding multiple steps like, “Reach up, turn around, and then jump!”

Ages 3-5

Move Like Me

Attention and focus

Ask your child to imitate you as you walk, jump, clap, or bend down to touch your toes. Then see if they can do the actions when you just say the words. Challenge them by going fast and slow or adding multiple steps like, “Reach up, turn around, and then jump!”

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Your child uses their skills of focus and self-control as they try to mimic your words and actions. By changing the speed of the movements, you ask them to think on their feet. They must also use their working memory to keep track of what comes next.


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Ages 2-3

Smiles and Winks

Attention and focus

Smile at your child and wink at them. Repeat it several times, then encourage them to try to copy you. The smile is easy, and their wink, which may be just crinkling their eyes, will make you smile again! Take turns. Count how many smiles and winks you share.

Ages 2-3

Smiles and Winks

Attention and focus

Smile at your child and wink at them. Repeat it several times, then encourage them to try to copy you. The smile is easy, and their wink, which may be just crinkling their eyes, will make you smile again! Take turns. Count how many smiles and winks you share.

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Playing Smiles and Winks may seem simple, but it takes a great deal of skill for your child to pay attention to what you're doing, remember the rules (first you smile, then wink), and copy what you're doing. These are important skills for school and life.


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Ages 4-5

Letter Lookout

Taking on challenges

Pick a letter with your child and try to find it everywhere you go. Take turns calling it out when you see it. If they see an apple for the letter A, then you have to find something next. See how many things you can find. Four? Ten? More?

Ages 4-5

Letter Lookout

Taking on challenges

Pick a letter with your child and try to find it everywhere you go. Take turns calling it out when you see it. If they see an apple for the letter A, then you have to find something next. See how many things you can find. Four? Ten? More?

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“I Spy” games like this one are great brain builders. They make your child aware of their environment and teach them to make connections between similar things. You can try this game with letters, colours, shapes—anything really!


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Ages 4-5

Face Off

Responding to emotions

Make a face that expresses a feeling and ask your child to make a face that expresses the opposite feeling. If you make a happy face, they should make a sad face. Talk about when they remember people making these faces. Then take a selfie together with your goofiest faces!

Ages 4-5

Face Off

Responding to emotions

Make a face that expresses a feeling and ask your child to make a face that expresses the opposite feeling. If you make a happy face, they should make a sad face. Talk about when they remember people making these faces. Then take a selfie together with your goofiest faces!

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This game helps your child learn empathy, by practicing to understand the emotions of others, and express their own feelings. It's an important skill that we use every day as adults!


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Ages 3-5

Rhyme Time

Attention and focus

Pick a word, like cake, and take turns saying words that rhyme with it. Keep going until you run out of words that rhyme, and then let your child pick a word to play with. See if you can come up with silly ones to keep it fun like slinky, pinky, stinky.

Ages 3-5

Rhyme Time

Attention and focus

Pick a word, like cake, and take turns saying words that rhyme with it. Keep going until you run out of words that rhyme, and then let your child pick a word to play with. See if you can come up with silly ones to keep it fun like slinky, pinky, stinky.

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Rhyming or word guessing games, like this one, help your child detect differences in sounds. This will help with reading and writing later on.


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Ages 3-5

Fruit Facts

Relationships and communication

When picking out fruit, play a guessing game: "Is this orange sweet or sour? Is this apple crisp or mushy?" Use words they might not understand and ask them to use their own words to describe tastes. When you eat the fruit later, talk about their guesses.

Ages 3-5

Fruit Facts

Relationships and communication

When picking out fruit, play a guessing game: "Is this orange sweet or sour? Is this apple crisp or mushy?" Use words they might not understand and ask them to use their own words to describe tastes. When you eat the fruit later, talk about their guesses.

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Talking about things beyond the here and now helps expose children to new vocabulary. Asking your child questions will also help develop their reasoning skills - especially when you ask them for their own words to describe tastes.


Vroom | Brain Building Moments

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Every time we connect with young children, it’s not just their eyes that light up—it’s their brains, too. A global program of the Bezos Family Foundation, Vroom(R) helps parents boost their child’s learning during the time they already spend together. Vroom believes all parents want what’s best for their children. So we joined with scientists, researchers, and parents to take the science out of the lab and put it in the hands of caregivers. Vroom provides science-based tips and tools to inspire families to turn shared, everyday moments into Brain Building Moments(TM). Since 2015, Vroom has grown to impact nearly 1,500,000 families in 37 US states and 6 countries around the world. Learn more at Vroom.org.

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