The National Week of the Young Children reminds us to insure that each and every child experiences the type of environment- at child care, at home, at school and in our community- that will promote early learning. Over the first three years of a child’s life they develop self control which is the ability to manage their feelings and actions in acceptable ways. They also learn to wait, share and to workout problems with their friends. Research shows that the early years of a child’s life are crucial to brain development. A child’s early experiences mold and shape the brain which impacts learning throughout their lifetime. The National Association for the Education of Young Children designates the week of April 12-18, to celebrate young children, and those who help children make the most of their early years. Early childhood educators want to encourage parents, policymakers, teachers and community leaders to support young children and early learning programs that provide opportunities to learn and grow. This week is a good time to spend time with the children in your life. All family members such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all extended family members can make an effort to spend time with the children in their family. Look at the activities list and change your routines to include one or two: Read a book to your child every night. Make reading a book a part of your bedtime routine. Ask your child questions about characters in story, sequence in story and look at pictures together. By asking questions you will get the child to think as he nears age three. Teach your child while giving him or her a bath. Bath time is a chance to learn about ideas like sinking/floating and wet/dry. Turn everyday routines into a playful moment. Encourage your child to explore toys in different ways- by touching, banging, stacking, shaking, sinking and floating. Make uncooked play dough with your child. You will need three cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, food coloring, one cup of water and one-tablespoon of oil. Mix flour with salt. Add water with coloring and oil gradually. Add more water if too stiff, add more flour if too sticky. Let your child help with the mixing and measuring. Keep dough stored in plastic bags or a covered container. Enjoy molding and forming lines, shapes, pancakes, etc. with play dough. Plant a bean with your child. You will need a dried bean, a quart plastic bag and a paper towel. Wet paper towel place dried bean in paper towel, then place in plastic bag and tape plastic bag to a window where there is sunlight. Observe and record what happen for a few weeks. Go outside and play volleyball, kickball, basketball or just toss a ball back and forth. This is a great physical activity for the whole family and a good way to relieve stress.