Kids are amazing. They are like little sponges that soak up information really quickly. Their imaginations are very vivid. Just ask them questions about something they don’t know or you think they may not know and observe what they say. One day my wife was driving the kids somewhere and our son said to her, ‘Mum, are we going to go past the big steering wheel?’ My wife clicked on to what he meant. He was referring to the Ferris wheel in the city. It did not even occur to me to connect steering wheel and Ferris wheel, yet this little five-year-old did. Their minds work instinctively in extraordinary ways.

1. The linking game

This is a game I used to play with my daughter years ago to build up her skills in making associations from simple images. It provides practice in the VAI memory principle. For example, I would say a random word such as ‘frog’ and then another word ‘table’ and then get my daughter to make up a story with those two words. The linking game helps develop imagination and creativity and is easy to play anywhere.

2. Story making

If you’re reading to your child, a great way to build up their creativity is to get them to tell you the story without reading, just by looking at the images. Even though it won’t be the same as the written story, you will be amazed at what kids can describe and think of. This can even be done over and over with the same material so the child can learn how to create something new from something they already know.

3. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a great tool for kids to learn and they enjoy the process. One way to use it is to connect their drawings to words. One of my clients had brought in their six-year-old son who was on medication for ADHD and had been told his memory wasn’t very good after being assessed at school. After a few weeks showing him and his parents how mind mapping can be used to connect both sides of the brain, his whole learning pattern changed and he gradually got better and better at school.

4. Speed reading

Teach your child to read with their finger. It is an essential skill and will help them to focus and prepare for real speed reading techniques when they are older. It will assist them to form images when they are older so they can quickly progress to reading in large chunks. If they can read, then the next step is to teach them to chunk two words at a time and to try and visualise them rather than read them. If they practise this, they will be speed reading with enhanced comprehension at a very young age.

(Excerpt from Tansel’s bestselling book ‘The Yellow Elephant’)