Today we bring you an article from a guest writer. Jenny Wise (http://specialhomeeducator.com/)
She is a home-based teacher whose role is to help students and parents in the home and community work year-round. Her focus is looking for great new ideas to make learning fun and keeping students engaged. She is constantly gathering resources.
She says “I’ve come across a lot of really exciting lesson plans and strategies lately, so I’m passing a few onto you with the hope that you can find a way to utilize them.”
So today, give Jenny’s article a read and drop by her website for a look…
While opening up a math textbook or reading a book are tried and true methods to sharpen a student’s brain – they’re not always the methods that will receive the most enthusiasm. A great way to get kids involved in learning while still stimulating their sense of fun is with games. Call it tricking them or call it alternative study – brain games let kids get the mental exercise they need while wrapping it all up in a delightfully competitive package.
Brain training sites like Lumosity and NueroNation and a plethora of brain training apps offer to actually beef up your brainpower through scientific techniques. These brain training simulations are fun games that are supposedly designed to create new pathways in the brain for better overall function.
The science is still out on whether or not this sort of “brain training” really makes you smarter. “The strong consensus of this group is that the scientific literature does not support claims that the use of software-based ‘brain games’ alters neural functioning in ways that improve general cognitive performance in everyday life, or prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease,” quotes Scientific American. Many studies have shown there isn’t much of a difference between these brain training apps and regular old games meant to stimulate brain function like word games, card games, or puzzles.
But here’s the point – when it comes to the classroom, you’re just trying to stimulate mental function in kids. You’re not trying to “prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease.” So these sites and apps actually offer great resources for keeping kids’ minds sharp – and many of them are free.
There’s more good news: fancy, new age brain training apps aren’t the only free resources online for curious kids. Good old fashioned brain teasers, puzzles, crosswords, and logic problems are available en masse on various sites.
It’s not only important to gives your kids the brain games – you also need to teach them why it’s important to keep their minds active and stimulated.
“Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and shouldn’t be neglected. Including mental dexterity exercises into your daily routine can help you reap the benefits of a sharper mind and a healthier body for years to come,” says Erica Roth of Healthline.
Mental sharpness is directly tied with overall happiness and well-being. An active, healthy mind can lead to a happy, healthy body – and vice versa. Physical exercise helps the brain and mental exercise helps the body. Knowing that the mind and body are so intertwined is important for students, young and old.
It’s also important for kids to know that they don’t have to find a brain games online to help their mental acuity. Every time they do a math problem, or learn a phrase in a new language they sharpen their mind. Even techniques like meditation can help people of all ages clear their minds and put themselves on a path for better mental health. Art therapy is another way to boost mental health and de-stress.
“Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream location,” suggests the Canadian Mental Health Association. “Breathe slowly and deeply. Whether it’s a beach, a mountaintop, a hushed forest or a favourite room from your past, let the comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility.”
Even something as simple as relaxation can help with mental fitness. A tough crossword or sudoku won’t hurt either.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com