Using the Integrated Movement Activity Center to “Awaken” the Brain for Learning This article provides…
World Cup Makes Smarter Kids
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Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé! The World Cup has everyone excited about soccer. If you are among the many soccer moms and dads sitting at the edge of your seat watching soccer champs around the world, you are no exception. Getting your kids hyped up about soccer is a great way to encourage learning and makes your child smarter. “Really?” you say. “How does soccer make my kid smarter?”
The fact is, the soccer drills and cross-patterning techniques your child does at soccer practice gets the right and left hemispheres of the brain working together. This type of movement strengthens and improves your child’s motor skills and prepares the brain for higher learning. Everything we do, whether it is reading, spelling, writing, drawing, math, or comprehension, depends on how the right and left brain works together. From the time your child is an infant to the time they are ready for school, every stage enables some type of higher learning in the brain. In conclusion, get your children moving!
Smart Soccer Activities, Smarter Kids
If you coach your child’s soccer team or if you want to “trick” your child into getting a mental workout, dust off the old soccer ball and gear them up for some fun and challenging drills that help their motor skills and the brain. Better yet, at your next World Cup soccer party, plan a fun pre-game or post-game soccer game with your kids to get them moving and the brain working! Remember, not just any ole drill will do. Get them to do cross-patterning activities like the four recommendations below that help both right and left sides of the brain work together.
1. Toe Taps
Instruct your child to place the ball in front of them. Have them tap their right and left toes on the top of the ball, alternating the right and left foot. The goal is to always get your child to use both the right and left sides of their body. Click here to see how it’s done.
2. Dribbling – Cones
One of the best exercises to get the brain moving is a crossover. Set up a row of eight to ten cones. Instruct your child to weave in and out of the cones with the soccer ball. Teach them to use both feet, not just their dominant foot to kick the ball around the cone. Alternate feet, using the right foot to kick the ball through the first cone, then the left foot to kick the ball through the second cone. This allows children to develop and strengthen their weaker side, which also strengthens the weaker parts of the brain. Click here to see how it’s done.
This is a tricky exercise, but an effective soccer drill that combines crossovers and right and left movement. First, have your child practice a few grapevines before they get started. Grapevines teach children to cross their legs behind them and in front of them. If they cannot do the full exercise, simplify it by having them roll the ball and stop it in mid-roll with their foot. When they are ready, instruct them to use the left foot first. Have your child roll the ball to the right a few inches with their left foot; stop the ball in the middle, then cross the ball behind them. Have them complete three sets and then switch to the right side. Click here to see how it’s done.
This is a great exercise to get you and your child working together. First, drop the ball on your right knee and bounce it to your left knee like a hacky sack. From your knee, bounce the ball to your right foot, then switch it to your left foot and kick it to your child. Have them repeat the same exercise back to you. Simplify the exercise if it is too difficult. Click here to see how it’s done.
Want more soccer drills that can help the brain? Check these out below.
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