Kids are Smarter with Brain Games

Brain Games: Anybody Can Do Them

by Dr. MaryJo Wagner

Wiggle your toes and you've changed a neuro-connection in your brain.

Neuroscientists have discovered over the past 20 years that the brain changes all the time. This is very good news indeed for kids who are struggling with reading or don't like math or just can't seem to do well on spelling tests. We can easily help them rewire their brains so reading isn't a struggle, math is at least tolerable, and taking tests is a piece of cake.

Turns out the best way to change the brain is through movement. And that's what Brain Games are all about: moving.

The most basic Brain Game is aerobic exercise. Consistent vigorous physical exercise has been proven to change the brain enough to help improve grades, attitude, and test scores.

Stretching to touch your toes (as long as your knees are bent) and doing the so-called Runner's Stretch both help with focus and paying attention.

Most active kids games aren't just fun, aren't just good exercise, aren't just good for developing eye-hand coordination, they're good for brain development.

Activities including swinging, climbing, hop-scotch, jumping rope, spinning, twisting with a hula hoop, skipping, and so much more all help with brain development and and make kids smarter.

Movement that helps kids cross the center mid-line of the body helps kids use both the right side and left side of their brain simultaneously. I can't think of a single school subject that doesn't require both sides of the brain.

For crossing the mid-line, dancing can't be beat! Find some lessons on YouTube of dances like the Charleston or the crazy dances of the 50s and 60s and get your kids out there dancing. Don't forget square dancing.

Everybody can do Brain Games to rewire their brain to learn anything more easily. Want to improve your golf score or learn to play the guitar or master some complicated computer software, Brain Games help.

Keep in mind that for some children, rocking back and forth, tapping their toes, or tapping their fingers on their knee help them focus. As long as they aren't bothering someone else or making noise, there's no harm in letting kids move in this way while they're learning. It's time to thrown out that old, worn-out rule that learning requires sitting perfectly still. Neurologically it simply isn't true!

So you and your kids get out there and take a vigorous walk. Touch your toes a few times and do the Runner's Stretch before you start. Focusing on their book report will be much easier when they get in. And if you need to write a report for boss, you'll find that easier too!

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