Obviously movement matters right? But how much really? I know our children have fewer opportunities than we did to move throughout the day and we had many fewer than our parents with the incredible invention of computers and internet and video games and apps and things that honestly I don’t even understand (but our kids probably do).
This has been a slow creeping progression that has happened over time I think we have lost touch with the reality of how sedentary we really are. Now this is a problem for all of us clearly but today, we are specifically shining a light on the impact that this lack of movement is actually having on our kids and how it is affecting the way their brains are developing.
Did you know that when we move our bodies we can actually see different areas of the brain lighting up or being used. We can measure this and track this. Now did you know that in order to develop or grow our brain from when we are babies we NEED to activate different areas of the brain and this is done through things like movement and other sensory information (sound, light, love, emotions)? Movement and other sensory input grows the brain….in other words we need movement to grow.
We are not moving as much as we should and our kids are definitely not moving as much as they should and that has a huge impact on the way their brains are developing. We are also having a huge increase in developmental, learning and behavioral challenges (which we know are windows into how the brain) SOOOO we have a problem.
In order to keep this one short and sweet let’s help our children develop by getting them moving. Here are a few simple and specific “movements” that I would encourage you to play with your kids. These movements will be wonderful for all kids but I have specifically picked movements and games that will encourage development for kids that struggle with whole brain processing! Have fun!
1) Swing!!!! Yes, seriously go to the park and swing this is good for the brain! I don’t care how old you are go to the park as a family and have a swinging party! This is good for the areas of your brain that are having to determine where you are in space!
2) Balance games! Again head to the park or just get a 2×4 and put in on the ground and play balance beam games! For younger kids pretend that they are walking the plank for older kids maybe see who can take the most steps without falling and for bonus through in some singing or talking or spelling or other “cognitive” activities while they balancing if they can! This type of “build up” is good to help develop the whole brain”.
** BONUS: if this is too easy…try walking backwards! This is a wonderful game for visualization and balance and coordination which I speak about often!
3) Play games where you have to “cross crawl pattern” your body! This is wonderful for connecting the two sides of the brain. Maybe start with a simple skip game (skip around the yard play green light red light while skipping) and if that is to difficult then play games where you have to crawl on the ground (maybe pretend you are dinosaurs on a hunt!). The goal of these games is to coordinate the left and right side of the body which is wonderful for connecting the two sides of the brain!
These 3 simple “games” are putting attention to the back or bottom of the brain and are good for anyone at any age. You might be surprised at who might find these games challenging. Just keep playing and get creative. Be looking for more information from us on other important movements to help activate other areas of the brain! ~ Dr. Amy Spoelstra