If you’re wondering how to raise smart kids there is one simple activity you can add to your weekly routine with your baby that’s free, fun and won’t add much extra time to your day.
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Parents want the best for their children.
We dream of our children being intelligent, kind humans that make the world a better place.
We buy them lots of toys and read to them, but is there anything else we can do to help them become intelligent little people?
Turns out we can play a simple game with them to improve their cognitive development before they even start talking.
What is Cognitive Development?
Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.”Source: Health of Children
Said another way, cognitive development is Intelligence.
Babies begin learning from birth.
They are watching, listening and physically trying new things. As parents, this is where we can help shape our child’s development. We play an active role in raising smart kids.
How to Raise Smart Kids – Play I Spy!
It’s time to mix up your grocery shopping trips with your little one.
A group of Neuroscientists at the Children’s National Health System published a study which determined that playing a version of ‘I spy’ in the grocery store boosts early brain connections and will help your baby develop a stronger brain.
The new study suggests that infants who are allowed to interact with stimulating, brightly colored surroundings (like the grocery store) have far stronger brains than their peers.
Important to note, this is all before baby learns to speak or babble.
The neuroscientists also highly discourage speaking “baby talk” to your baby.
Instead, walk through the grocery store and pick up a banana, show it to your baby and say “this is a YELLOW banana”. Point out the vegetables you’re adding to your cart, “Look at the Green Broccoli” while holding the broccoli up.
By doing this, you are helping them “connect the dots” between language and environment early in life – this gives their brain’s neural network a strong foundation to maxmize their brain power into adulthood.
What else can you do at the grocery store?
Raising smart kids should be a priority, but as mom’s we are busy!
Fitting in games and developmental activities while doing the weekly shopping makes it much more fun (and productive) when we add these simple ideas.
Sing a song
My sister in law shared this one with me.
Going to the supermarket,
Shopping for food,
I have a great big belly and
I’m in the mood for ______
Fill in the blank and pick up the food and show it to the baby at the same time.
Music is so great for babies and singing will help get their attention. The same neuroscientists above also recommend music as a way to grow a baby’s brain.
Smell the Roses
I have recommended an at-home version of this previously, but you can also do this baby activity at the grocery store.
Stop in the flower department and point out the different colors, flower variety and let your baby smell the flowers.
Bring a bouquet home and let them enjoy all week.
Review the Flyer
Before you even leave for the store go through the flyers and point out the different items.
Flyers can be so colourful and are full of pictures. Make sure you use descriptive words again – “we need to buy yellow bananas” while you point at the image.
- Stop by the lobster tank if your store has one and let them watch them move around
- Play with temperature – let them touch cool food vs room temperature
- Grab a balloon and tie it to the stroller or shopping cart and let your baby watch it bounce around or let them play with it while you are on a longer trip
Recreate a Grocery Store at Home
There are lots of brightly colored toys that help recreate the grocery store experience. You can go all out and buy a pretend store (this is really for toddlers plus), but some simple pretend fruit can also be used to play I-spy at home.
Sometimes we can rush through our day to day errands, but if we look at it as a learning experience for our babies it will become more enjoyable for both of you. Happy shopping with your genius baby! HAHA!