Thinking Cap

What You Need:

  • Plain swim cap
  • Assorted colors of permanent markers
  • Rubbing alcohol, for removing mistakes

What You Do:

  1. First, have your child mark and label the three major parts of the human brain: The cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem. Have them write the names of the different parts in black permanent marker and enclose the different regions with black marker to make them stand out.
  2. Explain to your child that the cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is responsible for conscious activities, sensory interpretation and judgment. You might want to fill in the subdivisions later.
  3. Tell your child that the cerebellum is the second largest region of the brain, and that it's mainly associated with coordinating voluntary movements and language.
  4. Next, share with your child that the brain stem controls some of body’s most important functions, like heart rate and breathing. It connects the brain to the spinal cord.
  5. Ask your child to color in the different regions of the brain. Because permanent marker tends to run, it'll work best to write the region’s name in black and leave a circle of uncolored area around it.
  6. As a final touch, your child might want to use a black pen to put in some of the sulci (singular would be sulcus), which are the folds in the brain that allow a lot of thinking to go on in a small amount of space.

If your child wants to learn more, ask them to color and labels the interior parts of the brain on the other side of the swim cap.

For example, you could have them add some regions of the cerebrum:

Frontal lobe: involved in planning of movements, memory and self-control

Parietal lobe: body sensations

Temporal lobe: hearing

Occipital lobe: vision

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