It was easy to teach my daughter when she was a baby—all I had to do was keep up a running commentary and she soaked everything up like a sponge. But once she started school, I let the teachers do most of the heavy lifting, especially in science and math. I’m not the only mom who’s hands-off when it comes to her child’s learning. “We think teaching is talking at kids and telling them stuff,” says Barbara Wolf, Ph.D., an associate vice president of family learning at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. “Instead, it’s about taking advantage of natural, everyday moments to ask questions and get the wheels working inside that little brain.” And it pays off: Recent studies show that the more involved you are in helping your child learn at home, the better he’ll do at school, academically and socially. So read on to find the best activities for teaching a slew of complex concepts that can maximize your kids’ brain power.