Brain Gym Exercises for Children
Brain Gym exercises allow children to access portions of their brains that usually lay dormant through movement-based activities, enhancing overall mental abilities. These exercises are an off-shoot of applied kinesiology and were developed by Paul Dennison and the Educational Kinesiology Foundations. Because of the simple nature of these activities, they are appropriate for children of all ages and can be administered either by educators or parents.
1 Lazy Eights
In a Lazy Eights activity, the participant simply draws a series of overlapping eights. The thought behind this activity is that by doing this the drawer activates both sides of his brain simultaneously. To complete this activity with your child, lay a sheet of paper down in front of him. Give him a pen, marker or crayon, and ask him to draw a large, loopy eight in the center of the page. Instruct him to continue making these eights, overlapping them, for at least one minute. Set a timer to ensure that the drawer draws the eights for this set period of time.
2 Non-Dominant Hand Writing
By writing with their non-dominant hand, children can re-examine the process of learning to write and use their mental processes to approach the physical task of writing in a new form. To complete this activity, present the child with a simple prompt question such as, “What is your favorite color? List objects that are this color.” Ask the child to answer this question in writing composing her response with her non-dominant hand. Encourage the child to exercise care and make her writing as clear and precise as possible. The more the child practices this activity, the more adept he will become at completing this initially uncomfortable task.
3 Pat and Rub
Start engaging children in brain gym exercises at an early age by asking them to try a pat rub activity. Start by asking the child to pat his head with his left hand. Then ask the child to rub his tummy with his right hand. Once the child has successfully completed both of these tasks in isolation, instruct him to combine the two, complete the pat and the rub at the same time. The participant will likely delight in working towards the accomplishment of this physical challenge. Once he successfully accomplishes the task, ask him to reverse it and pat and rub with the opposite hands.