…and what to do if this is a challenge!

Do you know what is more fun than learning new school concepts while sitting at a desk…?

Learning while on the MOVE!

Sometimes combining movement with learning helps kids learn faster if they function better while on the go.

This is especially so if your kiddo is a mover and a shaker and loves being active and on the go. Using movement, a strength of theirs, to teach something new may open up the neurological floodgates in new ways. This can give your child access to different and novel pathways in the brain to reinforce concepts as opposed to taking the same traditional and traveled routes!

Learning with movement is also a change from the norm, and even if your kiddo doesn’t always crave movement, any new way of learning is usually more engaging than the same ol’, same ol’! The brain loves novelty, so let’s take advantage of that to build some new connections!

So let’s stand UP and try these fun learning games with us:

  1. Combine Sidewalk Chalk, the alphabet, and stepping:
    1. Put each letter of the alphabet in order in rows on the blacktop or sidewalk
    2. Start with one foot on A, step to B, switch feet and step to C, and so on and so on until you reach Z. Make sure you are saying each letter out loud with each step
    3. Looking for an alphabet level up? Mix all the letters up and let your kiddo find them all in order
  2. Combine Sidewalk Chalk, Math, and Jumping:
    1. For addition: Put numbers in the order that you see on a traditional calculator (starting with 1, 2, and 3 on the bottom, make 3 rows, then 0 in the middle on a 4th row on the top. Place a (+) sign and an (=) sign next to the numbers at the top (you can also put the numbers from top to bottom if that is easier for your kiddo).
    2. Have your child jump from number to number, trying to add numbers together with the (+) sign before jumping on the (=) and saying what the sum is out loud! 
    3. Have them try with subtraction, or multiplication and division if they are working on these skills in class!
  3. Balancing while Reading:
    1. Tape a reading passage to the wall, and have your child stand at a distance where they can see the passage. 
    2. Place both feet together OR stand with one foot on a step stool OR stand with one foot elevated (so you are standing on one foot) – you want your child to be balancing but not falling over, if they are falling over then the balance challenge is too hard and reading will be very, very hard.
    3. While balancing, have your child read the passage out loud and time how long they can hold their balance with a stop watch while reading. Have them try a couple of times with different passages and see if they can beat their balancing time!

Do these kinds of exercises seem tricky for your child?

All of these exercises practice something called “dual tasking” where your child is required to perform a task with their body (a motor task) and their mind (a cognitive task). These kinds of tasks are great to practice with your child because with practice, they make it easier for the body and the mind to work on things at the same time. These kinds of tasks can be very difficult for some kids, especially if their body is taking a lot of their attention away from the cognitive tasks they are being asked to do (like schoolwork).

When does this happen? This happens when balancing and controlling their body is very hard and the child is diverting focus to keeping their body still and in one place. If you feel like your child is spending a lot of energy and focus just keeping their body still and in one place, they may benefit from physical therapy to improve their balance and overall control of their body. Giving a child this kind of control can improve their lives for the better because their brains are free to think, focus, and remember things from school and beyond!

Here are a few red flags that dual tasking is tricky for your child:

  • Your child is often falling out of their chair.
  • Your child is has a hard time listening to directions while moving at the same time (maybe they miss everything after the first instruction)
  • Your child often bumps into things or others

If this sounds like your child, call us at 908-543-4390 to set up a free Discovery Visit with one of our Physical Therapists to see if Physical Therapy would benefit your child!

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