Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain by John Bowman is, hands down, the best book on toddler and preschooler activities I have read. I will end up reading it 3 or more times. Once for breadth, once for depth, and several other times for review, reminders, and inspiration.
I really like how this book integrates modern technology into a Montessori curriculum, such as using Google Maps to teach a child about maps. This book convinced me of the value of quality iPad apps, which I have put to use with my son, with much success. The author argues that iPad apps (or any tablet) are essentially 2-D manipulative, which is what a lot of Montessori materials are. Here are but some of my favorite activities and ideas that I got from this book:
- To teach about maps, the best first activity is to construct a map.
- Although not explicitly recommended, we used the iPad app “Phonics Island” to teach letters sounds to my son. Within 2 1/2 weeks, he knew all of them. Here is my small write up on it.
- Using a real, inexpensive stethoscope to listen to hearts beat and other activities.
- Many play doh activities, such as cutting out “snakes” of 1″, 2″, 3″, etc.
- For a child who can write, make their own book, with themselves as the lead character.
- Matching nuts and bolts
- Using YouTube to teach a child about any and all topics they are interested in.
- Mixing color activities by mixing dyed water or dyed shaving cream
- Using a Geoboard
- Lots to Learn at Youtube for preschool learning
There are many I am looking forward to, as my son gets older, especially some of the sewing activities and reading ones.
“The word discipline comes from the Latin disciplina, which means teaching, learning, and knowledge.”
“Just handling these materials builds brain architecture in young children.”