Children are always on the move, even when we expect them to sit straight!
But here it is important for adults to read the following line- “Small muscle exercises stimulate brain growth”- so what we call ‘fidgeting’ and ‘hyper-active’ are just a child’s body requiring that movement to stimulate the neuron connections in his/her brain. This blog is dedicated to this tendency in children that always keeps them active and on the move. So let’s help kids hop…skip….and jump, after all it’s good for your child’s brain!
When a child starts fidgeting it is a clear sign that his/her interest in the activity has started waning and so we need to stimulate the child. Sometimes we need to ask children to get up, to turn around or to raise their hands and shake their fingers to get them to focus once again. Children love movement, well we cannot blame them, they have just learnt to walk, to run and to jump and so naturally they would like to do these activities all the time, unless you get them interested in something that is more engaging than these new found skills!
Ten ‘brainy reasons’ why children should HOP…SKIP….JUMP and play:
- Touching, feeling, exploring, making and breaking are all activities that enrich the senses and this helps the brain develop new synapses.
- Free play, or play that involves choices, logic and thinking skills helps enhance the frontal lobe.
- The hand and the brain need each other: neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain and a brain is in search of a hand,” as stated by Mr. Wilson.
- The use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development.
- Imaginative play and role play are all part of symbolic play. Symbolic play is when a child can use a symbol or an object to represent another item, for example he/she uses a piece of block as a pretend telephone etc. When a child is able to experience symbolic play he/she will definitely be able to excel in reading and writing activities as reading is basically about representing a picture or a story through symbols (all letters and words are symbols).
- All play should be fun for kids as positive emotions enhance memory and no play should be stressful or too competitive as our bodies release harmful chemicals under stress and these chemicals are not good for the brain
- Play that is self-initiated, involving trial and error, problem solving skills, and cause and effect are good for developing the brain’s neural pathways.
- Play helps develop children’s language skills as the more sensory based experiences the child has, the more the child will want to talk about their play and hence language development will be enhanced.
- Memory increases by revisiting information frequently- so play often, as children like to play the same games everyday, which is fine as long as they are interested in the game.
- Cross lateral movements keep both sides of the brain working- so the more creeping, crawling and marching play activities your child does, the better for his/her brain. How? Cross laterals are arm and leg movements that cross over from one side of the body to the other. Since the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa, the two sides of the brain are forced to communicate when the legs and arms cross over.
Help children hop, skip and jump and also develop their smarts.
Picture source: http://www.freepik.com