Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Play builds brains

Who would have thought that fun and games are effective ways of building brains?  It’s true – having fun and playing games while eating, bathing, shopping and going about everyday routines is how you can  make each and every activity a learning opportunity.   

Young children learn best when they are interacting with an adult who “adds-value” to the activity by talking, explaining, and modeling behaviours like sharing and taking turns.  Studies have shown that children learn more when an adult speaks to them in a conversation than when they hear the same words on television.  We learn best when we are social. Learn more about the benefits of talking to your baby at Talk, talk, talk.

Although the presence of an adult who supervises and promotes play is very important, children also need time to practice what they know on their own – but an adult should still be close and on standby – just in case your child needs some help or guidance. Watch this short video to get some great tips about Everyday play.


Babies first learn about the world through their senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.  Stimulating babies’ senses by talking, singing and reading to them, offering new foods to taste and smell, and massaging or rubbing their bodies all activate one or more of the five senses.

Dr. Fraser Mustard was a champion of early childhood development in Canada and he visited the Yukon several times before he passed away in 2011.  He thought that reading to children as early as 6 months of age was the best all-round way of promoting healthy brain development.  Why?

Holding a young child in your lap and reading stimulates almost all the senses at one time – hearing, vision, touch, temperature, and even smell!  The video below explores Playing using all the senses.


Language is so important (yes, we are repeating ourselves).  The more you talk, the better it is for your child.  Talking while playing with a child is a great time to introduce numbers (1-2-3-4-5 toes but 1-2 eyes), the alphabet (A is for apple, B is for banana…), colours, and other new concepts.  Children take in as much as they are able, and they let it be known when they’ve had enough or they are bored.

Language, numbers and play. This is another great video. We didn't want to overload your browser, so please go to the link below.

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