Activities to Support Healthy Brain Development
4-5 Year Olds
- Encourage your child to complete as many tasks as possible when bathing. Let put the soap in his hands and show him how to wash himself, and use the towel to dry himself.
- Act out simple actions without using your voice and have your child try to guess what you are doing. Actions could include brushing your teeth, going to bed, getting dressed, etc.
- Provide a variety of objects for your child to practice his fine motor skills. Objects could include plastic bottles with caps that can be screwed on and off, Strings and large beads, and colored pegs.
- Ask your child to imitate the motions of various animals using their whole bodies. Encourage big movements, like trunks swaying or running fast.
- As your child is playing with different toys, ask her to describe the toy. Help her extend her vocabulary by adding adjectives like pointy, fluffy, soft or shiny.
- Read with your child daily, even if your child brings the same book each night. The repetition will enforce reading skills. Add new titles to the mix along the way for greater exposure to literary works.
- Use puppets to tell a familiar story such as goldilocks or the three little pigs. Change your voice for each character, and encourage your child to as well.
- Use old cell phones with batteries removed to play “phone”. Have a conversation with your child using open-ended questions to encourage your child to talk.
- Make a paper chain of two alternating colors of construction paper. Cut strips of paper and ask your child to copy the pattern you made. Add other colors and other patterns to make this more and more difficult.
- To the beat of a musical piece, make patterns your child can hear. Ask your child to close his eyes as they identify and copy your sounds. Start simple with words like “Clap, snap” and then as your child catches on, add other sounds such as stomp and whistle.
- Create snacks together and allow your child help with the preparation. One example is to have the child use plastic knives to cut up bananas or strawberries to add to plain yogurt.
- Encourage your child to express himself freely and creatively with art materials. To encourage creative expression, try to introduce projects where the child can’t copy what the adult has made.
- Make play dough for creative play. Add different items to your dough to create interesting textures. Items might include glitter, or sand, or add different scents such as lemon or mint extract or a few drops of scented bath oil.