Having reminisced about our old mattress I was thinking of all the other physical things boys should do before they get to the slumping-infront-of-a-screen stage, (please let that not be just yet!!)
It seems being active is not just about being fit and healthy- although I reckon this is reason enough. I am no expert in physical development, or in the way the brain works, but two bits of information made me value the way kids jump, climb, balance along things etc much more than I might otherwise have done. One, which I found out about when I was teaching, was the connection between balance and dyslexia. I have taught a number of dyslexic children and each came with a range of different approaches to help them manage their learning difficulties and hopefully to improve them. One that came up a few times was the theory that dyslexia could be caused by the two different sides of the brain failing to communicate properly, and a therapy to improve the link between the two involved doing physical activities which promoted balance- like standing on wobble boards or lolo balls. Here's a bit of info if you're interested:
I don't know if this area of research will turn out to be a major factor in treating dyslexia but it is an interesting theory.
|Some day you will be a great writer my son!|
So here are a few pics to illustrate some of the physical things children can do without any expensive equipment or clever classes. These were all taken in our garden but we did spend a lot of time (literally)hanging about in all the local playgrounds too, which generally have great equipment and have the added bonus of teaching the young 'uns social skills- like waiting your turn for the slide or negotiating whose turn it is next on the zip wire!
|Walking the plank.|
|Zac tackles the plank path.|
|Demonstrating a solid landing!|
Jumping is also good for developing balance because you have to perfect the skill of landing. Danny always surprised me by being extremely good at landing on his feet and staying upright, even when he was tiny. Kids love jumping off things. In our garden, any piece of garden furniture becomes a launch pad, and the challenge to jump off higher and higher things seems eternally entertaining.
|Climbing the lilac for a tight-rope challenge.|
For building up strength swinging and climbing are great. We don't have any very mature trees to climb in our garden but there's a lilac and magnolia that have been challenge enough for the boys while they were small. As I mentioned, Martin also built us a climbing frame. Partly this was because making one out of a load of studwork timber was a lot cheaper than buying a ready made one, but also because a lot of modern climbing frames don't seem to give much opportunity to climb- there's one way up and a slide down, and I wanted them to have something where they could be a bit creative and be able to climb higher as their confidence grew. (There have been moments where I've regretted this as they clamber about, but so far- no serious accidents!)
|Climbing high with the cousins.|
So that's a few of my thoughts on getting the kids out and active, not only because it's good to be fit (and kids are lucky enough to be able to thoroughly enjoy getting fit through fun,) but also because physical activities may help the way your brain develops, and improve your ability to tackle fine motor skills such as writing when the time comes.
|Strong enough to swing!|
I haven't mentioned rolling, but you can start 'em young building up their spacial awareness!: