Toddlers are curious about everything around them. They want to touch everything they see, bang things to make a noise, imitate adults, and more. These are all signs of the rapid development happening in their brains. At the age of 1 year, a child’s brain is already at 60% of its adult size.
A child’s right brain experiences exponential growth and development at this age. This side of the brain is responsible for memory, creative thinking, emotional intelligence, and spatial processing. Children acquire these skills by learning from their environment and through play. Let’s learn more about right brain education for 1-year-old kids.
What is The Right Brain Education?
The study of brain function suggests that certain cognitive processes and neural functions are specialised to the different sides of the brain. There are two distinct cerebral hemispheres—the left brain and the right brain. The right brain develops before the left brain. It dominates functions related to emotions, photographic memory, spatial perception, creative thinking, and agility. In the case of left-handed people, the right brain also plays a role in language and speech.
Right brain education aims at developing these skills through play and activities. It helps in the child’s overall growth and development. For example, strengthening a child’s photographic memory skills will improve their long-term memory and make scholastic learning easier once they start going to school. Similarly, when children’s imagination is encouraged, they learn problem-solving.
Brain Development So Far
All of a baby’s brain cells (neurons) are there at birth, but the connections among these neurons enable the brain to function. Our ability to move, think, speak, and do anything else depends on brain connections. The brain creates over a million new neural connections every second in a child’s first few years. These connections are responsible for a 1-year-old being able to stand up independently, take a few steps, copy movements, identify objects when named, follow simple directions, and so on.
Your baby is most primed to learn at this age. While genetics would have laid the foundation for basic brain wiring, a baby’s brain adjusts and fine-tunes its connections based on inputs from the world around them. Talking to your baby and playing with them creates neural connections. Repeated activities strengthen these connections and make them less vulnerable to being pruned out at a later age. Remember that, as a baby grows older, neural connections that are not used enough are pruned, and the skills associated are lost.
For right brain training for 1-year-old babies, start by creating a safe, stress-free environment for your child, giving them playtime, and showering them with love and attention. Take your child out of the crib and allow them to explore things.
How can You Boost Your One-Year-Old Baby’s Right Brain Development ?
Your baby’s ability to recognise faces, read emotions, and point to things they want reflects their right brain development. A 1-year-old may show signs of separation anxiety and be uncomfortable around strangers. This is because they have started to recognise their primary caretakers.
The right brain thrives when babies have pleasant eye-to-eye contact with their parents and are stimulated by bright, colourful visuals. Encourage your toddler’s right brain development by talking to them often, singing songs that capture their attention, and exposing them to different textures through toys and food. Respond to their vocalisations and facial expressions and develop a daily routine with them.
Activities And Games To Boost Your Child’s Right Brain Development
A child’s cognitive, social, and emotional skills grow tremendously between the ages of 1 and 2. Your child observes your every action. Here are a few activities, games, and toys that aid in the right brain development among 1-year-old babies.
- Baby talk
Talking to your baby in a sing-song voice introduces your child to rhythm and holds their attention. The sounds prompt toddlers to practice their verbal skills. Also, it teaches them how to transform their babbling into words and build vocabulary.
Choose books with big, bright, colourful pictures and short stories. Make your child a part of the activity by pointing to things as you talk about them. Storytelling activities help them understand the cause-and-effect relationship and learn how to think sequentially.
As kids turn one, they can hold crayons. Tape a large sheet of paper to their high chair tray and let them scribble with these crayons. This encourages creative thinking and lays the foundation for perceptual skills. It also helps increase a baby’s attention span.
- Eyes, Nose, Fingers, Toes
Pointing to the different parts of your toddler’s body helps develop their receptive language skills. Your child may not be able to say the words but they start to understand them. They learn to recognise their body parts and expand their vocabulary. This is a good right brain exercise for a 1-year-old child.
- Put Things into Jars
Toddlers are naturally curious. Give your child a variety of small items and jars with different-sized openings. Let them pick up the objects and drop them into the jars. This helps expand their attention span and acts as a precursor to sorting activities that develop their reasoning skills.
- Clap Clap Clap
This simple game encourages your 1-year-old child to observe things around them and copy actions. Make eye contact with your child and say the words “clap clap clap” while clapping your hands. As you repeat the words and actions, your child will copy you. You can go on to add other words and actions to the rhyme.
- Action Songs
Action songs like Pat-a-Cake are classic games that encourage your child to imitate your movements. It also helps them understand words and develop hand-eye coordination. Moreover, it develops listening skills and the ability to follow directions. Ensure that the lyrics are simple and you can make up your actions to go with them.
- Simon Says
‘Simon Says’ is another game that encourages toddlers to imitate. Act out the instructions and encourage your toddler to do the same. This develops their listening skills and improves their spatial perception.
- Picture Books
Picture books are a great tool to improve your baby’s memory skills. Choose books with realistic photos instead of cartoonish illustrations and point out things to help your child identify them. As your child’s brain develops, you can ask them to point out things to you.
- Can You Find
Make story time a fun game by asking your child to point to things they know. Ask them to find objects and animals they recognise in the books, such as cats, dogs, and elephants. This strengthens their memory and reinforces word associations.
Age-Appropriate Toys For Right Brain Development
- Nesting Cups
Nesting cups help 1-year-old babies learn the difference between objects of different sizes and develop sequential thinking. Nesting cups can also be used to introduce stacking activities.
- Wooden Blocks
Wooden blocks are popular right brain materials for 1-year-old toddlers. Playing with blocks of different sizes and shapes encourages creative thinking in them. Also, they develop coordination and understand cause-effect relationships.
- Pikler Triangles
Pikler triangles or similar climbing toys build your toddler’s concentration skills and create an open-ended play situation to encourage creativity.
- Soft Toys
Soft toys are great for right brain education. They act as a conduit for babies to express themselves and encourage creative thinking. Including soft toys in pretend play also helps children build social skills.
Xylophones are musical toys that make pleasing sounds that aren’t too loud or jarring for a baby. It stimulates right brain neural connections in parts of the brain responsible for memory and creative thinking.
1-year-old babies are curious and put everything they see into their mouths. Hence, they must never be left alone with toys that have small parts. Ensure that the toys are made from non-toxic materials, cannot break easily, and have no sharp edges. Also, avoid buying toys with very small parts that can come apart and ones that can trap your child’s fingers.
Keep your toddlers engaged by playing with age-appropriate toys and games that help them understand right brain concepts. This helps their growth and development in early childhood. Finding suitable toys and activities to aid your child’s development can sometimes be overwhelming as a parent. You can leverage the experience and expertise of the Raising Superstars programs. By subscribing to Prodigy Programs, you can help your child’s right brain training through fun and playful activities. So, let’s get started, shall we?