Brains - especially young brains - benefit from exercise.
Here’s an exercise that Bernadette Tynen (the brain researcher) does with her students. She says that if you do it with your child once a week, it will help to make his thinking more flexible and creative.
She gives the child an object. It could be a stuffed animal, like a snake or a gorilla, or it could be a hat or a scarf – any kind of object. Then she asks the child to tell her what could be done with the object.
At first, the child may say, “you can sit on it,” or “you can put it on your head,” and his thinking may stall there.
You can prompt him by saying, “what else could it be used for?” and he may start to come up with less conventional uses: “You could wear it as a bracelet,” or “you could use it as a frying pan,” or “it could be a garden decoration.”
In Tynen's documentaries (“Make Your Child Brilliant”), it’s astounding to see how quickly children change their thinking from the usual, normal ways of looking at an object, to finding truly creative and out-of-the-box ideas for things.
We know that brain-training exercises like this help the young brain become more agile, which helps with future learning. Plus, it's fun!
I tried this with my son - I gave him my glasses case. Within a few seconds it became a hat, something you could balance or float, a toy... I was laughing my head off at the crazy and wonderful things he came up with. Playing with your kid like that is better than TV, I tell ya.