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Inspiring REAL Brain Development For All Young Children
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braininsights is dedicated to creating a broad awareness and understanding of the importance of early brain development.
Issue: #14

August, 2011


"New" is the word for this issue! There are many new braininsights followers, and many new wonderful efforts that are occurring to create greater awareness! This is exciting news for those of us that care so deeply about children.


First of all I would like to welcome the 100's of you that are new followers! It is thrilling to have continuously growing numbers of dedicated parents and professionals from all over the world supporting the healthy development of our young children!



Secondly, below is an announcement for a new initiative which provides a greater opportunity to make a positive difference for greater numbers of children. Read about, The Parenting Team, below.



And last, included in this issue are links and information on new research, programs, resources and products. It is my hope that all of this will extremely beneficial to you!








Deborah McNelis
Owner and Creator of braininsights
Did you know....?

.... Play directly contributes to the healthy development of higher brain areas - leading to the ability to learn better and regulate behavior!


  ..... Longer attention spans are developed when children are given the chance to choose a play activity and then are given the opportunity to focus without interruption. 


...... Time spent outdoors in nature is like pushing a "stress reduction button" for your brain.



.... Sleep deprivation affects memory, reasoning and attention span. Behaviors resulting from chronic deprivation may look like ADHD.  



Tell everyone you know!! 


What a combination this is! It is not new information.....but unfortunately is it is not widely known that play is the way the brain learns best. Let's change that!!


When a child is moving, is using several senses, is exploring, or tries things out in various ways, brain cells are changing and learning is taking place. A child needs to participate in activities not just watch. Research demonstrates more active brain activity during play as opposed to passive observation. The brain also needs trial and error and a lot of repetition in fun and interesting ways. All of this is provided through play.


Play also provides the opportunity to learn to get along with other people. When children play with parents or other children a lot is learned about how relationships work. This social interaction through play allows children to develop skills for self regulation. In addition, playing with others can lead to laughter.


Laughter is wonderful for the brain. Play and laughter activates the caring and thinking areas of the brain. Laughing lightens our mood through reducing the level of stress hormones affecting the brain. It provides a physical and emotional release. Laughter can also lead to creating closer connections with other people. Laughter is also contagious so we can share this beneficial brain activity with others when we are laughing.  


Physical play additionally provides many benefits to the brain. It first of all simply increases the amount of oxygen to the brain. Research also indicates that safe rough and tumble play can positively influence the activity in the thinking part of the brain. Numerous studies show that providing physical activity during the school day is correlated with improved academic performance.


If play takes place outdoors there are even more advantages. Natural environments have a very positive effect on the brain. Unstructured time in a natural setting provides invaluable opportunities for learning that workbooks, flashcards, or electronic devices can never offer.


Children simply need adults to understand that the brain learns best through positive, safe, and fun interactive experiences.  


Following are articles, websites, and books to provide additional interesting and valuable information:   




Physical Activity May Strengthen Childrens' Ability To Pay Attention  


Student's physical fitness associated with academic achievement 




Why are Movement & Creative Activities so Important to a Child's Development & Learning?  


Seven Things You Can do to Save Recess 


 A resource and program promoting play:  





Two Valuable New Books:  



Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids by David Walsh,Ph.D 




What's Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman, MS,LND  




Blogs and Websites: 



Children & Nature Blog



 Child Honouring  



Love Outdoor Play  Guest post from Sue Atkins 




If you are a parent or a professional working with children and families, you can get activity ideas on how to easily incorporate loving interactions into a daily routine and learn hoefits brain development by visiting for The Brain Development Series.  
Your organization or workplace will also benefit from learning more about the brain. To arrange a presentation
 that fits your needs, contact Deborah at


Become Familiar with....

The Parenting Team   (click link to find out more!)


Educate your conference attendees,

webinar guests, parents, teachers and staff on the science of brain improvement strategies.  

We help teachers manage happier classrooms, parents 

raise extraordinary families and employees 

manage work and home with health and




*The SPANISH version of The Brain Development Activity Packet Series is NOW AVAILABLE!    

 * You can receive insights delivered directly to your email inbox.  Sign up here to receive updates from the braininsights blog.

Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog* Are you spreading the word with, The BRAIN Initiative? Is is now on the Early Childhood Brain Insights blog weekly! You can easily help create awareness. Thousands throughout the world are sharing the weekly BRAIN Insight!

   NEW FEATURE: If you have a question about one of the brain facts or other area of brain development, leave a comment or email me and your question may be answered in the next blog post!

* NEW Brain Development Packet! Naturally Developing Brains is the newest brain activity packet. It provides activities to use with pre-schoolers and information on the benefits of nature for the brain. Proceeds go toward nature pre-school efforts.
Your program can also use these as a
fund raiser while promoting
nature learning!

Nature packet cover 


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Brain Development Activity Packets

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