Did you know that your daily impact on your nanny charges is actually contributing to their crucial brain development?
As caregivers, it is our responsibility to provide nurturing experiences as the brain is experience-dependent. 80% of all brains develop by age three, 90% of all brain development happens by age five, and humans are born with 100 billion brain cells. Preschool years are even considered the 4th trimester in terms of brain development. We want to share some tangible and practical ways that you can continue to make a positive impact on the brain development of your charges, with wonderful outdoor activities developed by Deborah McNelis of Brain Insights.
The brain learns best when many senses are used. Being outdoors is naturally a multi-sensory experience. Over 85% of the human brain develops in the pre-school years.
Help your nanny charges select a tree that you deem your ‘special’ tree. Make a point to visit the tree often, observing it carefully and noting how it changes throughout the seasons. Take photos of your nanny charges with their tree and use the pictures to create a tree journal to share the fun experiences and cool changes you’ve shared with the tree.
Special times spent outdoors with your nanny charges create important emotional connections in children’s brains. The memory areas are strongly activated when the kids are feeling calm and experiencing positive feelings.
Find a familiar spot outside that you and your nanny charges can explore at different times of the day. Check it out first thing in the morning, at sunset, or maybe even on a night with a full moon. Consider bringing an instant camera to help your nanny kids capture the differences in light, shadows, creatures, bugs, and any other details that they may observe.
Using larger movements and feeling different natural textures is the best way to make connections to prepare for learning to write.
Take paper and crayons when you and your nanny kids head outside. Have your charges make rubbings of different textures such as tree bark, leaves, shells, pine needles, and rocks. Help your little ones hold the paper on the object while they rub the paper with the side of their crayon. You could even bring some objects home and place them under an envelope to make some cool DIY letters to share.
Cause and effect experiences provide greater amounts of learning for a child’s brain. Young people can learn a variety of important things about their world while playing on a sandy beach.
Give your nanny kids containers of different sizes to pour water and sand from one to another. Let your little ones experiment with different quantities of sand and water to see how much fits. Then take the containers filled with sand and water to see which floats and which one sinks!
Outdoor activities provide opportunities to develop young brains in healthy ways. Young children especially benefit when they make movements that include crossing their arms and legs over to the other side of their bodies.
While on a nature walk with you nanny kids, observe the movements of plants, animals, and bugs. Then have your nanny kids act out the movements they see, have them practice pretending they’re flying like a bird or crawling like a bug, or running like a dog!
Human brains develop memory abilities gradually over time, and as children get older they’re able to remember more than one thing at a time. As a nanny, you can make a big impact in their ability to remember things by helping them to develop these skills practically.
Collect several different items while walking around in nature with you nanny kids. Try to find an assortment of leaves, pinecones, sticks, rocks, or flowers. Arrange the items on a tray and then remove one item while your nanny kids close their eyes, then have them try to remember which item is missing. As their memory skills improve, practice removing more than one item at a time.
These are just a few of the creative, DIY projects that you as a nanny can do with your charges to work on their brain development. Remember to frame each of these activities as fun and playful, while building their curiosity by changing things up with each trip outside. For more amazing and practical ways to nurture brain growth with your nanny kids, check out Brain Insights, the incredible program developed by Deborah McNelis. They have several fantastic resources available for all age groups!
Do you have specific activities that you use to support the brain development of your nanny kids? We’d love to hear about it! Reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, and check out the other posts on the blog!
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Check out Brain Insights, the incredible program that Deborah McNelis has created. She offers so many valuable resources to support and educate caregivers and parents.