Kids Can Get Smarter With Play at the Brainasium

Play-based learning is the latest trend in education these days and I’m all over that. Places like The Brainasium,  and other natural environments really do stimulate the mind.

How to foster a child's brain development at The Brainasium in Calgary.
The mind body connection can be tapped into by kids at Calgary’s Brainasium

Read on to learn how you can help your child train their brain and some facts on brain development.

The Brainasium

You’re probably wondering what a Brainasium is. It’s the new outdoor playground at TELUS Spark, Calgary’s interactive science center. It’s no ordinary playground. It’s more like a gym for your brain. Sure, kids will get a physical workout, but they’ll also work their brains. Here, you can help but foster a mind body connection with all the cool equipment they have.

How heavy is a child’s brain?

Your brain weighs just over three pounds and is a complex, fragile organ. It’s also a major energy hog – 20% of our body’s energy is consumed by your brain. Physical activity simulates all different parts of the brain, which can enhance performance when you sit down to learn something immediately following exercise.

How kids can grow their brain

Exercise doesn’t just build muscles – it can also build your brain. When we exercise, our bodies produce a range of chemicals – including a chemical in our brain called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which helps grow new brain cells. What does this mean? Combining physical exercise with learning is a huge boost to the brain.

Monster Mash-Up at TELUS Spark
Introduce physics to your kids via Newton’s Cradle

How to expand your child’s brain

Our brains change over time, anyone who’s ever experienced pregnancy brain knows that. But brains change in other ways, too. Researcher has shown that brains can “rewire” themselves – establishing connections that create new pathways for signals to crisscross the brain.

The best way to train your brain

We know exercise is good for your body, but we’re just now learning how it’s also good for your mind. Exercise and play enhances our ability to learn and remember – no matter what your age. Aerobic exercise has positive effects on brain function on both molecular and behavioral levels. It also helps to stimulate the growth of new connections between cells. When we play, we’re stimulate other parts of our brains, triggering new connections between those nerve cells.

The best thing parents can do for their child’s brain development

Encouraging active, unstructured, outdoor play is ideal. Letting kids run around so they can explore on their own not only helps develop these important brain chemicals, but fosters a sense of independence. Non-traditional playgrounds like The Brainasium allow kids to burn off energy while engaging their senses. Alternating from active play to the interactive exhibits at the science centre is one of the best ways to foster physical and mental development.

Thank you to TELUS Spark for sharing tips on how to help kids train their brain! As always, my opinions are my own.

About The Author

17 thoughts on “Kids Can Get Smarter With Play at the Brainasium”

  1. We ensure our kids have equal amount of unstructured play time for every hour of organized sports/events they participate in. We also spend time each week Geocaching as a family which results in us discovering and exploring new areas and venues in and around Calgary including the History of Calgary and Alberta where ever possible.

    1. Making sure your kids get unstructured playtime that equals their organized events is fantastic. What a smart thing to do!

  2. I try to find time to allow my kids to do tactile things – thus experimenting through trial and error. They like to set up obstacle courses in the back yard for example. I also let them take things apart to see how all the parts fit together – old DVD player. My son also likes to try and “fix” things – he is constantly studying his bike and trying to figure out how the gears work.

    1. That is awesome! I’m going to give my daughter some old electronics to fiddle with now.

    2. Congratulations, Jennifer! You’ve just won tickets for your family to TELUS Spark. I’ll follow up with details on how to claim your tickets via email.

  3. Shauna Way

    Mary Gordon founder of Roots of Empathy says”love grows brains” this is one of my motto s as a parent and a teacher. I love to engage a play with my kids letting them be my teacher,even though it often looks Luke the toy box threw up at our house we all enjoy unstructured play!

  4. Lili Deluxe

    I like to stimulate Min-Lili’s brain by taking her to museums, art galleries, national monuments, etc while traveling and showing her history and other people’s culture.

  5. I need a whole day to spend at the science center with my kids. We spent 2 hours there Sunday and it wasn’t long enough. I hope I Win so we can explore more.

  6. sarahdeveau

    We’re big readers, and we also like to play board games as a family to encourage the kids to think!

  7. katieedwardsis

    As a librarian, I have to say BOOKS! Such a great way to encourage learning in a fun way.

  8. Ruff Ruminations

    I like to keep a pile of reusable “trash” and ;let Grady create whatever he can come up with

  9. Kim W (@saidkim)

    We have recently started playing board games with our boys more often – it’s great to see them learn the strategy!

  10. Chris Nolan

    Peter Gray has a book, Free to Learn, that reenforces the idea that so many seem to have forgotten, that free play is the best way to learn.

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