The Mozart effect: The truth behind the claims

young girl listening to music with headphones, eyes closed

Depending on how you define it, the Mozart effect either doesn’t exist, or is a weak phenomenon with an extremely misleading name. But studies do hint that music can make us feel more alert and focused, giving us a brief cognitive boost. It may also deliver health perks.

How to support language development in babies

woman talking face to face with smilling baby while father holds him

Babies possess amazing learning abilities. But to master language, they need our help. Studies suggest we can support language development by engaging babies in conversation, and by providing them with a variety of special cues and communicative experiences.

When do babies say their first word?

baby and toddler siblings

Babies make lots of communicative noises, but coos, gurgles, and cries aren’t true speech. When do babies say their first words? Most babies can say at least one or two words by the end of their first year, but the timing may vary considerably from individual to individual.

Animal tracking: What kids can learn from the study of footprints and other clues

toddler standing in snow, near rabbit or hare tracks

How is animal tracking related to cognitive development? Before the rise of urban life, kids spent a lot of time learning read the visual clues left behind by other animals. Nowadays, many kids never get to learn the art of tracking. But maybe they should. Tracking gets kids outdoors and interested in wildlife. It may also provide kids with opportunities to practice scientific reasoning, spatial skills, and symbolic thought.

Preschool and kindergarten science activities about tracking animals

A little girl studying an animal track - a canine paw print - left in dirt.

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved These preschool and kindergarten science activities build on what most young children are already interested in — animals! And in addition to teaching lessons about biology, they also offer kids opportunities to practice analytical, spatial, and symbolic reasoning skills. Where to begin: Free exploration with Read More »

Evidence-based social skills activities for children and teens (with teaching tips)

diverse circle of children's happy faces

These social skills activities can help kids forge positive relationships — and better understand what other people are feeling and thinking. How can we help children develop social competence — the ability to read emotions, cooperate, make friends, and negotiate conflicts? Kids learn when we act as good role models, and they benefit we create environments that Read More »