Brain Exercises help Kids in Martial Arts
For years it was thought that each of us was born with a generous supply of brain cells, but that we were unable to produce additional cells or make changes in how they function. Fairly recently, neuroscientists discovered the presence of something called “neuroplasticity” which enables the brain to actually grow additional cells or modify the function of existing cells. Amazingly, cognitive exercises have been found to produce desired changes in not only how the brain works, but how it looks. What this means for parents is that you now have the ability to work with your child to help improve their focus.
“Cognitive exercises have been found to produce desired changes in not only how the brain works, but how it looks. What this means is that you have the ability to work with your child to help improve”
Here are some of my favorite exercises that can help kids improve their concentration.
1. Crossword Puzzles and Picture Puzzles:
It sounds simple, but these are great tools for kids. Crossword puzzles actually improve attention for words and sequencing ability, while picture puzzles—in which your younger child has to look for things that are “wrong” in the picture or look for hard-to-find objects—also improve attention and concentration.
2. Memory and Concentration Games:
Children’s games such as ‘memory’ and ‘simon says’ are great ideas for improving memory and concentration. They are quick and fun. Memory motivates the child to remember the location of picture squares and Simon helps them memorize sequences of visual and auditory stimuli. Through repeated playing, brain circuits are “exercised” and challenged, which strengthens connections and thus improves function.
As you do all of these “brain exercises,” you should work together with your child serving as his or her “coach”, this is what I do when I’m teaching the kids martial arts classes. Provide them with encouragement and track their progress as they improve. This is a win/win solution because it also strengthens the relationship you have with your child.