A balanced brain makes a child's digestion and immune system function properly and also increases intellectual ability...When a child does not have a balanced brain, he can have problems with his motor skills, ability to process information, digestive system, hormones, and immune systems. Dr. Robert Melillo
Opportunities for parents to balance children's brains make an exciting and interesting summer. There are many ways to help your child expand their capacity for learning without stressing your budget. First of all, you must limit screen time--the time children spend watching TV, playing video games, talking and texting on their smart phones.
We have the power to change our brains--through exercise. Exercise spawns neurons in the brain and feeds the brain to help cells survive. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, riding a bike, even playing a sport that involves sprinting or running is good. It has been suggested that moving in this way 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week for 12 weeks or throughout the summer improves your children's ability to organize, plan, and act on information.
Learning a new skill such as rock climbing, yoga, karate, Pilates, gymnastics, or skating strengthens and expands the brain's networks and ability to think and learn. Tennis and other activities done with a partner combine aerobic and skill training which strengthens the cardiovascular system as well as beefs up the brain's infrastructure. Twister and "freeze dancing" (dancing or moving until music stops, then freeze) give body and brain stretches.
Play, unstructured play, is an opportunity for children to exercise their brains and bodies while learning to navigate social situations and problem solve on their own. With their play, children improve their alertness, attention and motivation. They even build and encourage nerve cells to bind to one another and develop new nerve cells from stem cells in the area of the brain related to memory and learning.
Balance the brain through games like Go Fish (improves hand-eye coordination), tangrams and jigsaw puzzles (improves spacial relationships and logical ability), Uno ( improves attention, pattern recognition, numbers and colors), Scrabble (vocabulary and spelling), and strategy games such as checkers, chess, and Chinese checkers (planning and critical thinking).
Use the senses to build brains. Blindfold children and let them taste things to identify what they are. Allow them to smell different kinds of smells (black pepper, coffee, and lemon for right brain to become open to new and varied foods) and banana, lavender and chocolate for left brain. Exercise children's eyes to improve focus. Have them hold their thumb in a hitchhiking position and follow it with their eyes as they move it near and far in front of their face. Holding head still, have children move eyes in all directions to improve peripheral vision. Maintain their balance and coordination by taking a walk, climbing stairs, and standing still on one foot at a time.
Summer routines including these kinds of exercise helps the brain learn and improves the rate of learning for all your children. Don't let their brains idle!