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7 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Brain Sharp

Does your child spend too much time attached to electronics? Is he/she sometimes in a fog? Mighty Mommy has 7 expert tips to engage your child and help keep their brain sharp.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #194

Tip #2: Math Activities in the Kitchen and in the Store

Families spend a majority of their time together in the kitchen. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your kids’ minds thinking mathematically. Give them some jobs in the kitchen that will require them to figure out math in their heads. Here are a few suggestions:

Idea 1: Look at nutritional labels with your child and point out the serving size and number of servings per package. Many foods, like crackers and cookies, denote servings as the number of items. Ask your child to calculate how many cookies (or crackers) would be needed to make two or four servings. 

Idea 2:Ask your children to help you figure out how to make half of a recipe or how to double the recipe. Show them the amounts of each ingredient and explain that you need to use exactly half of each one or twice as much. Encourage using numerical division, if they’re old enough, or have them show you the correct measuring implements if they’re too young to use the numbers.

Idea 3: When grocery shopping, head to the produce department and let your child help figure out the cost of the fruit and veggies you will be buying. Show the produce scale to your child and explain that each pound is divided into 16 ounces. Tell him how many pounds of fruit you wish to purchase and weigh the fruit you've picked out. Ask him to estimate how many much more you need to bring it to the desired weight.

Tip #3: Stay Sharp in the Car

The time you and your kids spend in the car really does add up, so this is the perfect opportunity to incorporate some stimulating mind exercises while on the go. Here are some of our family’s favorites:

Activity 1: Have each family member look for and choose a license plate and write it down. Remove the non-numerical symbols. Everybody compare numbers and calculate whose license plate has the largest number. Take it one step further by asking by how much. What would that number round up to? Round down to? What number is in the tens place? What's the largest place value on the license plate?

Activity 2: Tell a story that includes key elements that must be memorized. For example, you start the story by saying “I love Cocoa Beach because of the soft sand.” The next person says “Mom loves Cocoa Beach because of the soft sand, but I really like to ski at Attitash Mountain because of the triple diamond hills.” Everyone in the car builds on the story but must include the details from the very beginning from each person.   It gets silly sometimes and it’s a fun way to work on memory skills.

Tip#4: Keep Them Active   

Kids who are playing outside, on the swings, on the jungle gym, in the sandbox, riding their bikes, or involved in an organized sport such as Little League or gymnastics are engaging their bodies and imaginations. Kids who are playing video games and watching TV are not. It’s that simple. Physical activity stimulates mental activity, so get your kids moving. Check out my episode on Fun Ways to Keep Your Kids Active for ideas.

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