Vroom® has made the science of early learning simple! Remember these 5 easy ways to help build your child’s brain anytime.
Toddlers use their senses to learn. See what catches your child’s interest and talk back and forth about it with smiles and hugs!
Children’s brains light up when you talk, sing, or make sounds back and forth with them. So chat about your day, food, and what’s around you, or string sounds together for a fun conversation!
Young children learn best when you follow their lead. Tune into your child’s words, sounds, ideas, and movements! Then respond with your own words and actions.
Children’s brains grow strong when you help them stretch their learning further. Keep a moment going: ask your child a question that starts with what, when, where, how, or why!
Children learn from taking turns when you play, talk, or explore. After they go, take your turn. Then repeat: they go, you go, they go, you go!
Vroom Tips™ help you do more with your shared moments. Add learning to mealtime, bathtime, bedtime, or anytime with 1,000+ fun, free activities. Vroom's free, science-based tips and tools help parents and caregivers give children a great start in life today—and an even better future.
When you're changing your child's diapers, make funny noises and see if you can make them giggle or coo, then giggle and coo back at them. How many times you can go back and forth? Follow their lead and have a conversation with faces and sounds.
When you're dressing your child, give them a heads-up about what you're going to do next. Hold them gently, yet securely, and tell them when you're going to move them or pull a shirt over their head. Say, "Close your eyes. Here comes your shirt," or "Next are your socks!"
Talk to your child about what you see around you by looking at them, pointing, and asking questions. "Do you see a bus? Is it a yellow bus? Maybe it's a school bus. Do you see children on the bus?" Then ask them what they see. They may point or make sounds.
Do you sing or tell stories with your child during bathtime? You can share a favorite family memory, or make up a story with them as the main character. You could also sing a favorite song, or make up one of your own. Bathtime stories and songs can make bathing easier and more fun for both of you!
As you sit with your child, hold their hand and touch their fingers. Make up a story about each one. Name each finger or talk about what each one can do. The second finger can point! You can make up anything you want, responding back to what they do and say.
While changing your child's diaper, count their toes. You can say, "One little toe, two little toes…10 little toes to walk." Then, try it with another part of the body. For example, "One little nose to smell, two little eyes to see." Watch how they respond. Then, you can mimic their sounds and faces back to them.
As you sit with your child, hold their feet and touch each of their toes, making up a story about each one. The small one is a little piglet that goes "oink oink!" The next one is his big brother, etc. Keep going and respond to what they do and say!
Before you leave or drop your child off somewhere, share a favorite, fun or special "See you later" saying. Create a new goodbye ritual. Tell them that after it's finished, it will be time for you to leave. Reassure them you will see them later.
Ask your child to help you choose which items to buy. You can ask questions like, "What color shampoo bottle should we get—yellow or purple?" Just make sure the choices you offer are ones you can live with! Ask them why they made their choice. For example, "Why is purple better than yellow?" Talk with them about the choices that you would make.
After brushing your child's teeth at night, play a silly game together in the mirror. Ask them to make a funny face and then imitate them. Then switch and have them imitate your silliest face. There's no limit to how much fun you can have together!
Ask your child to make choices about what they want to wear. Give options like, "Do you want to wear the white socks or the black socks?" Be silly and ask, "Will you wear them on your head? No!" Encourage them to try getting dressed on their own and praise how hard they're working.
When you go on an outing with your child, make it a habit to point out the different street signs, letters, and words that you see on your way. Share back and forth conversations with them, like, "There is the sign with the picture of the bus. That's where we wait to ride the bus. What do you see?"
Children love to play with boxes—like empty tissue, diaper, or cereal boxes. How many ways can you and your child play with them? Help them hide things inside or stack and knock them over. You don't have to buy toys for them to play and learn.
Place a small safe object like a toy, a plastic spoon or small book into a bag. Ask your child to reach into the bag. Help them pull it out and say, "peekaboo!" As they get older, see if they can guess what's inside. Then they can take a turn to choose an object and it's your turn to guess.
While getting dressed in the morning, chat with your child about if they should wear short sleeves or long sleeves. Do they need long sleeves to stay warm, or short sleeves to stay cool? Pretend together to be hot or cold and act out how you would feel. Brrrr!
Look out the window for big things and little things. Take turns with your child, saying, "I see something big." And then name it. Do the same thing with something little. Ask them to go next and see how many things you can find together!
Help your child learn to calm down with deep breathing. Hold up three fingers and say, "Pretend these are three candles." Breathe in together. Then say, "Let's blow one candle out." Blow your breath out together. Do this for the other two fingers. How do they feel now?
While shopping at the grocery store, point out different items to your child and ask questions like, "Where do you think apples come from?" Listen to their ideas and then respond. "You see the apples in the store? They grow on trees. What else grows on trees?"
Ask your child to think about how different animals sleep. How do dogs sleep? Cats? Or how about people? Invite them to act out the positions that animals or people take when going to sleep. Then encourage them to decide on their own comfortable position.
Potty training can be really tough. Try celebrating your child's successful potty trips. Tell them about what they did in a proud tone: "You went to the bathroom in the potty." Invite them to tell you what they did too. Be matter-of-fact about accidents.
Make cleanup more fun by starting small. Say something like, "You can pick up these three books first." After that, encourage your child to choose their next simple step. As they get the hang of it, increase the number of objects and add more steps.
While doing the dishes, use your towel to play peekaboo with your child. Hide behind the towel and then pop up and say, "Peekaboo!" Wait for a reaction and then hide behind something else like a plate. Or give them something to hide behind.
After shopping, invite your child to help take items out of the bags. Give them some small, safe items to put away, giving hints for where things go, like, "Are there other cans in the cupboard that look like this one?" or "An apple is a fruit. Where do we keep the other fruit?"
Ask your child, "Can you do what I do?" Walk forward or backward, bend down, or reach up high. Talk with them about what you're doing like, "Touch your toes and touch the sky!" Then give them a turn to lead. Change the game and see if they can do the opposite of what you do.
Help your child learn to breathe deeply when feeling upset. Have them close their eyes and put their hand on their belly to feel it go out when they breathe in. When breathing out, their belly moves in. Remind them to use Belly Breathing to help them calm down.
Encourage your child to create their own shopping list. They can choose an item and then draw it or find it in a picture. Newspaper ads can be a great place to look! Together, write down the names of the items on their list. Then, they can look for the items at the store and check them off as they find them. You can even play this game at home in your own kitchen!
Before your child gets in the bath, encourage them to collect everything they'll need. Do they need a towel? How about some clean clothes? Give them hints if they seem to be forgetting anything. Maybe they want to bring something to play with. Talk with them about their choices.
At bedtime, take turns with your child listing things you're thankful for. Here's an easy one to start with, "I'm thankful for you!" Then, help them think of something they're thankful to have in their life. See how many times you can go back and forth.
Are you cooking something today? Ask your child to help you. Invite them to pour milk into batter, tear lettuce leaves for salad, or cut a banana using a butter knife. Watch and guide them as needed. Congratulate them saying, “You did it!” after each activity.
As you and your child are on the go, talk together about what you might see when you turn the corner: Buildings? Trees? What about when you go through a tunnel? Will it be light or dark? Encourage them to make a prediction. Talk back and forth and compare their answers to what they discover.
Playtime can become a dance party. Turn on some music, sing, or hum, and start doing a silly dance: shake a leg, wiggle your hips. Can your child copy your moves? Next song, it's their turn to lead. Go back and forth until you're danced out!
Describe a place in your home to your child. You can say something like: "I am in a room with a table, a stove, and a refrigerator. Where am I? That's right, the kitchen!" Provide as many or as few clues as they need. Then give them a turn to give you clues so you can guess the room.
Before going to the store, ask your child to remember two or three items on your list. When you're at the store, encourage them to take the lead in finding those items. If they need help, you can give hints like, "You're right, we need milk. Yogurt has milk in it, so maybe the milk is near the yogurt."
Encourage your child to learn by playing with safe objects in the bath. Do you have a washcloth and a plastic cup? They can explore different ways they each hold water. Ask questions, like: "What happens when the washcloth gets wet? What happens when you squeeze it? Can you squeeze water out of a cup?"
As your child lies down at night, slowly draw a letter on their back with your fingertip. Can they guess what it is? Repeat the letter again. The more you practice this together, the better they will get! Soon you will be ready to write whole words!
Pick a color or letter with your child and go on a scavenger hunt to find as many things as you can in three minutes. How many things can you find that are blue? Count out loud together as you find each item. You can also play with letters: How many things do you see that start with T?
As you change your child's diaper, make a funny face. How do they respond? Make another. Invite them to copy the look on your face. Then ask them to make a silly face and you copy it. See how long you can go back and forth!
How many ways can you play "Peekaboo"? You can hide your eyes behind your hand, or use a hat, a napkin, or whatever is handy and then say "Peekaboo!" Help your child take a turn. What can they hide behind? Saying "I see you!" when one of you stops hiding should make you both laugh.
When feeding your child, offer some choices. Hold up two kinds of food and see which one they look at, points to, or reaches for. Talk about their choice and how they respond. You can say, "You chose the banana! I am taking off the yellow peel and cutting it up for you."
As you feed your child, do they start to reach for things? Do they point at what they want? Ask them, "What do you want?" and hold up different possibilities while naming them. Do they want to have their own spoon? Do they want more bananas? Keep asking!
Bathtime is a great opportunity for brain-building! Give your child different safe containers they can use to scoop and pour water. You can use a spoon, a cup, or a bowl. Say, "Let's see what happens when we pour the water from the cup to the bowl!" Talk back and forth together about what they’re doing. Encourage them to compare and explore the differences they see with you.