We’ve talked about how important warm-ups are before kids start any sort of sport or physical activity. A warm-up before working out (such as in a Pilates session), not only benefits the body, but can also boost mental engagement and focus. In the same vein, we love making Pilates not just about physical growth, but mental advancement as well. That’s why we want to briefly talk about ways you can “warm-up” your kids’ minds and help them be more receptive to learning opportunities.
Just like the body, the mind works best when it has a chance to engage and build up momentum. The brain is a muscle too! If practiced regularly, such brain “warm-ups” can benefit youths by decreasing boredom, increasing attention spans, improving memory, and increasing overall situational awareness. It can even help boost their homework scores in some cases.
So what are different types of brain warm-ups your kids can enjoy?
Puzzles – These can take all sorts of shapes and sizes, from regular jigsaw puzzles to crossword puzzles to connect-the-dot puzzles and beyond. Depending on your child’s current interests and development levels, it’s easy to find a puzzle that will appeal to them, both online and off. (Here’s a fun website that actually lets you make personalized crossword puzzles that will specifically appeal to your youth!)
Brain Teasers – These are great ways to get kids to look at the world in new ways, whether in solving an anagram, working through a tongue twister, solving colorful word problems, or figuring out riddles. Check out this website for tons of free teasers that will keep your kids’ minds engaged for hours!
Creative Writing – Few things work the imagination more than having your child write a story. Let them pick a topic, a place, a person, or other subject matter and write a short story focused on it. Then have them read that story to you and ask all sorts of questions that further challenge them to dream up answers!
The more variety you introduce with these mental warm-up exercises, the better, as many of them help develop different areas of the brain. These can be done in the morning to get your kids ready for school, or perhaps after school to help them be more focused with their homework. It’s a great approach to a critical part of your child’s development—and they’ll get to enjoy the process too!