As I challenged my granddaughter to an old car game I played as child, she asked this question “How do you grow your brain, Mani?”  

     I had been modeling recall strategies of abc order (repeating the alphabet letters in order from the beginning or in segments) or categorizing items like when she said “lions”, I immediately thought of “monkeys”. Hence, my connection “jungle animals” so I could remember as list grew longer. Or she said “quail” for “q”, then I said “rooster” for “r”, birds as the category. She also asked for “hints” as to what letter came next to prompt her recall.  As the game became more difficult in length, she became weary.  That’s when I encouraged, “it takes practice over time and grows your brain.”  “How does your brain grow?”

     I explained to her that her brain had lots of learning cells called “neurons”. She loves new words. And these neurons get stronger as the sparks fly from one neuron to another when she is learning new things. The more she practices and learns the stronger and more sparkly these connections get.

      Now I know that it was not the most scientific answer, but in a world where everything seems to come in an instant, it seemed like a good visual to me.

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Apples, Bananas, Carrots and a Dog“Teeter-Totter”

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