5 of the Best Brain Building Activities to Help your Child Learn that may Surprise You
Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
As you prepare your kids for school, it’s a great time to begin thinking of ways to better help your child learn in the classroom. As you know, each child is unique and different, which means his or her learning style is also unique to other children. Some children may learn better through pictures, while others may learn best when you read them questions so they can answer verbally rather than reading it on paper. No matter what your child’s learning style may be, schools often have a set curriculum they have to follow to ensure your kids are reaching their important learning milestones.
So what can we do as parents to better prepare our child’s brain for learning in the classroom that maybe as unique as your child? Well, the answer might seem odd, but is in fact what many teachers are now doing in schools. The answer is movement! I know, you are thinking I’m crazy that kids need more movement to learn, but studies now show that physical literacy and brain building activities is what children need to organize the brain and calm the body to help kids listen to instructions, comprehend what the teacher is teaching, sit still in their chair, reduce anxiety before exams, and help them focus and attend. We’ve even seen teachers replace their students’ chairs with exercise balls in the classroom because they strongly believe in the connection between moving and learning.
Many of the kids need that movement to concentrate so they can reach their potential and close any gaps they may have in the classroom. These physical literacy activities are especially important for children who may show signs of ADHD, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorders, Dyslexia and Auditory Processing Disorders.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I incorporate movement in my child’s learning when I’m not even in the classroom?” It may be easy to get your kids moving at home, but since you aren’t at school to remind them to take a break, what can you do? First, ask the teacher if it is ok for your child to take a few breaks throughout the day that won’t disrupt other students. This is in addition to recess. We don’t want to cut recess out. It is just as important for your child’s education.
When the teacher has agreed, help your child with a few exercises they can do at their desk or in the classroom to recharge their brain and restart their memory engines.
The Best Classroom Activities for Brain Building
Here are some ideas that are simple, yet affective. Feel free to come up with your own to change it up or ask your child what he or she would like to do.
Have your child do a few jumping jacks next to their desk while they are at school. This will help them get out those mid-day jitters and will release the pent up energy they have that could cause them to lose focus on subjects the teacher is teaching.
Pushups and Sit-ups
Pushups and sit-ups are another great activity your child can do next to their desk so they aren’t disturbing others, but getting the movement they need. These activities will help them focus on their breathing so they can strengthen their core muscles while taking deep breaths to calm anxiety and anxiousness in the classroom.
Take a Walk
Ask the teacher if it is ok that your child takes a few laps around the classroom. This can help prevent behavior issues. Many parents tell me the teacher has labeled their child as a “behavior problem,” but many times I see it as their child not attending and focusing because their bodies can’t stay calm not because they are bad kids. The simple solution is giving your child the right sensory input (or movement) they need to calm that behavior. They often are acting out because the body isn’t getting what it needs.
Leg and Arm Stretches
Find a stretchy band in the exercise aisle of your local store and have your child stretch out their legs and arms throughout the day. They can use the band to channel and release the energy they have build up. You can even tie the band around the legs of their desk so they can still be sitting in their chair but bouncing their feet or stretching their legs so they get that consistent movement at their desk.
Skipping and Hopping
Your child can do this in the back of the classroom or at their desk. Skipping and hopping are great for developing gross motor skills and crossing the mid-line of your child’s body so they get the right and left sides of the brain working together. It takes both the creative side of the brain (right) and the organized side of the brain (left) working together to make your child a “whole” learner.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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