How to Explain the Human Brain to a Child
Have your child put on her thinking cap – it’s time to study the human brain. Although amazingly complex, the brain is still fascinating enough to spark a child’s interest with details about its power and capacity. As you share vivid details about the human brain with your youngster, you help boost her own brainpower.
Parts of the Brain
The brain contains three parts, called the cerebellum, the cerebrum and the brain stem. The cerebellum has the job of controlling the muscles you move voluntarily, like making your legs pump to run or raising your arms over your head, states the Women’s and Children’s Health Network 1. The cerebrum is in charge of your senses -- hearing, sight, touch and taste. The cerebrum also handles personality, learning and speech. The brain stem has the responsibility of regulating the body systems that keep you alive, your heart, lungs, circulatory system and organs, for example.
The Brain’s Power
Likening the human brain to a computer is a common comparison. The brain is far faster and significantly more powerful than the most advanced supercomputer in existence. Every person’s brain has approximately 100 billion neurons, according to the National Geographic Kids website 2. With every thought, voluntary and involuntary movement, sight and sound, signals move between neurons to complete a process. In fact, if every neuron worked simultaneously, these signals could actually produce enough electricity to light a low-wattage light bulb.
Left Brain/Right Brain
The cerebrum divides into two hemispheres -- the left brain and the right brain. The right half of the brain is in charge of the muscles on the left half of the body and vice-versa for the left half of the brain, according to the Neuroscience for Kids website, with the University of Washington 3. Often, if a person receives damage to one half of the brain, the opposite side of the body will suffer impairment. The right half of the brain dominates for jobs such as face recognition, music and visual imagery. The left half of the brain dominates for logical functions and math. Although each half has its areas of domination, the two halves work together to function.
Once your child understands the amazing functions and properties of the human brain, help him understand how important it is to keep his brain safe and healthy. Wearing a helmet while riding a bike, rollerblading or riding a skateboard helps avoid a head injury, if an accident occurs. If your child plays sports such as hockey or baseball, a helmet protects the head from injury. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein helps feed the brain. Essential fatty acids present in nuts are important for brain health, according to The Franklin Institute. The brain needs regular workouts, too, with studying, working number and letter puzzles and memorizing facts.
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