Building early brain development? There’s an app for that.

reading - mom and boyWhat do you get when you cross technology with brain science? One really cool concept for building strong, healthy minds.

This concept – part app, part tool, part resource and part initiative – is called Vroom.

The Vroom app

In a nutshell, Vroom’s mobile app is designed to give parents and caregivers suggestions for activities that will help them interact with their little ones in ways that foster brain development. The tips in the app are curated for tots at every stage in the critical brain development period, from newborns to five-year-olds. For each tip, the user also gets some insight as to why the task helps the brain grow.

Meeting parents where they’re at

And while it’s based in rigorous brain science, the free app and its content meet parents where they’re at – anyone can do them. For instance, Vroom suggests getting your four-year-old to help you check items off of a list while running errands, which allows the child’s brain to make the association between written words and real-world activities. For younger babies under 18 months, Vroom prompts caregivers to tell a story during feeding time because it helps them learn sounds that go together.

These little reminders allow caregivers to incorporate brain-building fundamentals into everyday activities, and that’s a big deal to tired, overwhelmed parents. It also features fun badges and points for completing activities and sharing experiences. Parents don’t often get to hear they’re doing a good job, and there’s nothing nicer than a little positive reinforcement.

More than an app

But, while Vroom’s most tangible component is an app, it’s also an initiative. The cause is funded by the Bezos Family Foundation and led by folks here at Public Health. Our team will continue to promote the tools and forge partnerships with communities, national organizations, and systems that will adopt the messages and integrate these tools into their work with families throughout King County. All of the materials produced through Vroom are designed to be owned and adapted by others, and we want to help Vroom get into the hands of as many people as possible.

Get involved!

Do you work with parents or caregivers and want to find out how to integrate these tools into your work? Next week, Public Health is inviting community organizations, non-profits, frontline staff, public agencies, and anyone with an interest in brain science to join them for a kick-off event for the Vroom network in King County. Everyone is invited to sign up for free materials and learn how to use these tools to empower caregivers and play a proactive role in early brain development.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, February 25, 2016 | 2-4 p.m.
Where: New Holly Gathering Hall – 7054 32nd Avenue South | Seattle | 98118
Who: Anyone interested in activating Vroom!

RSVP here!