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Quincey Quokka's Quest

While the Early Years Toolbox is about assessing young children’s emerging abilities, we are also active in exploring methods of supporting and fostering the development of these abilities. While much research in this area has gone the route of computerized brain training, which has generated a more than $1 billion industry, we have instead sought to find low- to no-cost means to support young children’s cognitive and language development in ways that are embedded into children’s everyday activities (as opposed to an ‘additional more’ that has to be worked into the day). One of our current ventures in this regard is the development of a children’s picture book, Quincey Quokka’s Quest, to evaluate whether embedding fun cognitive activities into a children’s book can have benefits for their development over and above reading. Initial research (three studies to date) on this book has shown promising results, with improvements in executive functions and self-regulation after as little as 5 weeks of reading with a child (in either a one-on-one or group format). For more information about this book, please feel free to visit and keep an eye out for our upcoming publication of the studies. Given the success of embedding activities that promote cognitive development into everyday reading, we are now undertaking research to explore additional ways that other low- or no-cost activities can also be incorporated in everyday practice (e.g., at home and in preschool, indoors and outdoors, in physical activity and during restful times).