Early Learning and Brain Development: Body-Smart

This month is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is not something we can see from the outside looking in and currently, there are far more questions than answers. The brain and how it works is mysterious and amazing. That raises another question: What are some ways to encourage brain development in all children? Here are some encore posts on young children, kindergarten readiness, and multiple intelligence.

Body-Smart:

You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out. You put your right hand in for kinder-gar-ten read-i-ness. You do the Hockey-Pokey and develop brains and that’s what it’s all about!
body-smart-activities
And that really is what kindergarten readiness is about. Developing kindergarten readiness tags along with developing children’s brains and all their multiple intelligences. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is body-smart in kids’ words. This seems to be a natural for kids; when are they ever not moving? But some children will crawl and walk much earlier than others and go on to develop a good sense of timing and well coordinated movements. Whether this seems to be a strength or a challenge for your child, all children need opportunities to explore what their bodies can do and ways they move and position in space. Some of these might be:

  • having a space where kids can move safely; a yoga mat makes floors softer for rolling around
  • playing some music for dancing and movement exploration
  • building with different kinds of construction toys
  • hopping, jumping, tiptoeing, sliding, walking and runnnning to catch the bus
  • body-smart-activitiesputting together puzzles of different difficulty levels
  • squishing play-dough
  • digging in the sand box
  • splashing around in water
  • saving some clothes that munchkins can use for dress-up and imaginative play, not just dresses but a few hockey shirts or sports clothes for both boys and girls

body-smart-activitiesCheck and see if your community has some gym time for tots with balance benches, balls, hoops, and mats or other fun programs. An entire house can seem too small for kids’ energy levels so some space and time at the playground or park allows them to explore sliding, stepping, reaching, running, climbing, and more (and hopefully channels that energy). Moving promotes the development of all kinds of neural connections. Talk with your child too about how different sensations and ways to move feel. Encouraging movement helps kids grow brains and promotes kindergarten readiness. How will you help your child become body-smart and even smarter?

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