Facts

The world’s best brain researchers discovered something wonderful:

Brain-building play is one of the most effective ways to set a strong foundation for your child’s future.
We all want our babies to grow up happy and healthy—and not too fast. But growing up happens faster than we thought. Brain science is showing us that the first five years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their whole future.
From ages zero to five, play—both at home and in early childhood education settings—give children a strong foundation for their future learning, social-emotional development, and health.

Facts

The world’s best brain researchers discovered something wonderful:

Brain-building play is one of the most effective ways to set a strong foundation for your child’s future.
We all want our babies to grow up happy and healthy—and not too fast. But growing up happens faster than we thought. Brain science is showing us that the first five years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their whole future.
From ages zero to five, play—both at home and in early childhood education settings—give children a strong foundation for their future learning, social-emotional development, and health.

Image

Facts

The world’s best brain researchers discovered something wonderful:

Brain-building play is one of the most effective ways to set a strong foundation for your child’s future.
We all want our babies to grow up happy and healthy—and not too fast. But growing up happens faster than we thought. Brain science is showing us that the first five years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their whole future.
From ages zero to five, play—both at home and in early childhood education settings—give children a strong foundation for their future learning, social-emotional development, and health.

The Moments Together
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The Moments Together
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Learn the facts by expanding the sections below or get the full guide (it's free!).

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Mother and toddler readingMother and toddler reading

Help grow their language and imagination by reading or sharing stories aloud.

Help grow their language and imagination by reading or sharing stories aloud.

Help grow their language and imagination by reading or sharing stories aloud.

When we tell stories or read to our little ones, it develops the foundation of language, literacy, and thinking skills. Play with the sound of your voice; point out interesting details; and observe what your child finds fascinating.
When we tell stories or read to our little ones, it develops the foundation of language, literacy, and thinking skills. Play with the sound of your voice; point out interesting details; and observe what your child finds fascinating.
Mother and toddler reading
When we tell stories or read to our little ones, it develops the foundation of language, literacy, and thinking skills. Play with the sound of your voice; point out interesting details; and observe what your child finds fascinating.



Interactive play is a great way to build your child’s brain. Let them follow and lead.

Interactive play is a great way to build your child’s brain. Let them follow and lead.

Interactive play is a great way to build your child’s brain. Let them follow and lead.

When we follow a child’s lead as we play with them, we are helping them grow socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Playing with our children is a pleasurable reward for the important work of caregiving.
When we follow a child’s lead as we play with them, we are helping them grow socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Playing with our children is a pleasurable reward for the important work of caregiving.
When we follow a child’s lead as we play with them, we are helping them grow socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Playing with our children is a pleasurable reward for the important work of caregiving.
Mother and child playing

Adult playing with childMother and child playing
Adult talking with child while playingAdult talking with child while playing

Share lots and lots of words – in any language.

Share lots and lots of words – in any language.

Share lots and lots of words – in any language.

When a young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and we respond - whether that is eye contact, a few words, or a gesture - neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain. This kind of brain building helps to develop communication and social skills. Research indicates that the number of back and forth conversations a child experiences in his/her early years is a strong predictor of success in school.

When a young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and we respond - whether that is eye contact, a few words, or a gesture - neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain. This kind of brain building helps to develop communication and social skills. Research indicates that the number of back and forth conversations a child experiences in his/her early years is a strong predictor of success in school.
When a young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and we respond - whether that is eye contact, a few words, or a gesture - neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain. This kind of brain building helps to develop communication and social skills. Research indicates that the number of back and forth conversations a child experiences in his/her early years is a strong predictor of success in school.
Adult talking with child while playing


Give them comfort with a simple smile.

Give them comfort with a simple smile.

Give them comfort with a simple smile.

When we smile at our little ones, we are connecting and building trust. Smiling releases stress-reducing endorphins that help us feel happier and healthier.
When we smile at our little ones, we are connecting and building trust. Smiling releases stress-reducing endorphins that help us feel happier and healthier.
When we smile at our little ones, we are connecting and building trust. Smiling releases stress-reducing endorphins that help us feel happier and healthier.

Grandparent smiling at child

Grandparent smiling and holding a childGrandparent smiling at child
Adult snuggling a childAdult snuggling a child

Provide your child a sense of safety with a hug.

Provide your child a sense of safety with a hug.

Provide your child a sense of safety with a hug.

When we snuggle with our little ones, it provides physical and emotional comfort. Because the skin is the largest organ in the human body, loving touch strengthens our immune system and helps us feel safe.
When we snuggle with our little ones, it provides physical and emotional comfort. Because the skin is the largest organ in the human body, loving touch strengthens our immune system and helps us feel safe.
Adult snuggling a child
When we snuggle with our little ones, it provides physical and emotional comfort. Because the skin is the largest organ in the human body, loving touch strengthens our immune system and helps us feel safe.



Help balance their emotions by singing a song, it also helps build their language skills.

Help balance their emotions by singing a song, it also helps build their language skills.

Help balance their emotions by singing a song, it also helps build their language skills.

When we sing to our little ones, we help them increase their vocabulary and comprehension and also give them the tools that help regulate their emotions. Research shows that singing to children benefits their growth and development even when we can’t carry a tune; so have fun and give it a try.
When we sing to our little ones, we help them increase their vocabulary and comprehension and also give them the tools that help regulate their emotions. Research shows that singing to children benefits their growth and development even when we can’t carry a tune; so have fun and give it a try.
When we sing to our little ones, we help them increase their vocabulary and comprehension and also give them the tools that help regulate their emotions. Research shows that singing to children benefits their growth and development even when we can’t carry a tune; so have fun and give it a try.

Adult and Child Singing

Adult and child playingAdult and child playing
Grandparent dancing while holding a babyGrandparent dancing while holding a baby

Help them learn and stay healthy by incorporating movement.

Help them learn and stay healthy by incorporating movement.

Help them learn and stay healthy by incorporating movement.

Movement in children can help increase memory, perception, language, attention, emotion and decision making. Some studies have shown that when language is combined with movement, learning increases 90 percent.
Movement in children can help increase memory, perception, language, attention, emotion and decision making. Some studies have shown that when language is combined with movement, learning increases 90 percent.
Grandparent dancing while holding a baby
Movement in children can help increase memory, perception, language, attention, emotion and decision making. Some studies have shown that when language is combined with movement, learning increases 90 percent.


More helpful facts:

Research has shown that in the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second, a rate of growth and development that never happens again. 

Child-adult relationships that have lots of back and forth interactions build a strong foundation in a child’s brain for all future learning and development. This is called “serve and return.” It takes two to play!

Most child development happens from ages zero to five. Critical brain development for processing sensory information, language, and higher cognitive function happen in a baby’s first five years.  

There are Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs