We want children to flourish both personally and academically. In order to do this, we need to understand what causes and predicts positive outcomes and how we might intervene to put children on a path towards success. This talk will address four studies broadly conducted with this aim. The first study attempted to replicate and extend a promising parenting intervention to improve cognition in low-income preschool age children in local Boston Charter schools. The second study explored the relationship between free play and cognition in preschoolers. The last two studies looked at interventions that affect task persistence in infants and young children, with an eye towards developing computational models to predict and explain how children might allocate effort.