We usually think of skipping, hopping and jumping as child’s play and are often confined to the playground. But did you know that they can improve your child’s grades? Immediately after exercising and in the long term numerous studies have shown a link between improved cognitive ability and physical activity.
Our ancestors spent almost every waking hour in motion. They figured out a lot of things while they were in action. Studies have shown that our brains learn better during exercise because it is adapted to it.
Regular aerobic exercise results in a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls learning and verbal memory, according to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia. On exactly why exercise improves learning scientists have many theories.
Exercise can have an immediate impact on academic performance as well as a long-term improvement in learning. Student’s scores on tests taken directly after the activity showed a drastic improvement, according to several studies. What leads to better performance in school is kids’ moods and attentiveness, which improves after a physical activity.
Here are some fun ways to connect learning with exercise.
A rock, a piece of chalk, and some pavement are all you need for this classic recess game. Draw out a court, toss the rock onto a square, and hop away! Both aerobic ability and balance are challenged during jumping and by reciting the numbers as they hop in each square young children can get a brain boost. Young one’s number sense will improve by skipping the square that the rock landed in and counting backward on the return trip.
Jump rope rhymes are a great way to improve mental ability. To help develop numeracy skills many of them include counting exercises. These rhymes can be a fun introduction to poetry, too. For older children, these can be made more difficult by making them count by twos or threes. They won’t even realize they’re exercising as they’ll have so much fun!
Go for a Walk
Numerous learning opportunities await you during a regular walk around your neighborhood. Each house will have a number. Ask your kids to read the numbers on each house as you pass. It can be quite challenging for young children to recognize numbers out of order! By encouraging your kids to read street signs you can also squeeze some learning into your stroll.