Activities With Children

After my children turned 3, I employed some fun activities to improve executive function, roughly based on the canonical work of Adele Diamond. I would tell them that today was “opposite day. When I held up a drawn picture of the night, an inky black background sprinkled with stars, they were supposed to say “day.” When I held up a picture with a big blue sky inhabited by a big yellow sun, they were supposed to say “night.” I would alternate the pictures with increasing rapidity and check for their responses.
They had a blast with this; for some reason we always ended up rolling on the floor laughing.
I did a kinetic form of this exercise with my elder son, who was a natural drummer, when he was 4. We each had a spoon and a pan. The rule was that when I struck a pan with a spoon once, he had to do it twice. When I hit a pan twice, he had to strike it three times. Or once. (I changed it up quite a bit.)
The idea for both exercises was to a) give the boys a rule and b) help them inhibit what they would do automatically in the face of this rule—a hallmark of executive function. We had a certain place in our Chocolate Factory for these types of play. There are a ton of exercises like these you can do with your kids. For a list of nearly 20 great ones, check out Ellen Galinsky’s Mind in the Making.


Some activities the author engages with his children to teach them self-control.

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 Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Medina , John (2010-10-12), Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, Pear Press, Retrieved on 2011-07-27
Folksonomies: parenting pregnancy babies child development


05 JUN 2011

 Raising Enlightened Children

Memes about raising children as a spiritual naturalist, with a sense of awe for the Universe and reverence for the laws of nature.