A young mind is like a giant sponge, constantly absorbing new knowledge and findings. Today’s kids are not only fast learners but are constantly in search of activities to keep them amused and entertained. My kids go through what I call ‘flavour of the week’ syndrome - a dying desire to learn the keyboard one week; by the following week, this desire would be replace by ballet lesson. It is exhausting just trying to keep up with their latest obsession. However, an over-active mind is common and encouraged amongst young children. As parents, you can help to encourage the following habits and activities that helps to stimulate brain growth and development in young kids.
Always start the day right with brain food
Breakfast improves the ability of concentration, reaction time and learning ability; as well as being known to improve mood and memory. A hot, healthy breakfast will not only warm your little ones’ tummies first thing in the morning but also improve their ability to concentrate better and longer in class. Try a ‘brain power’ smoothie with a selection of your kid’s favourite fruits and yoghurt or an oven baked omelet with vegies and salmon pieces - rich in Omega-3, power food for the young minds!
- At least 30 minutes of active time everyday
In addition to eating right, staying active with regular exercise is also important in boosting brain power by stimulating formation of new brain cells. Most young kids get enough exercise just by running around and chasing each other at the playground during lunch time. If your kid enjoy computer or Playstation time more than outdoor activities, encourage them to take up a team sports such as soccer where they’ll get the chance to interact with other kids and make new friends. To increase your kid’s interest in staying active, you could even suggests for them to try something a bit more unique such as Wing Chung or even Hip Hop Dancing
- Encourage lifelong learning
Many of the hobbies that we enjoy as adults are things that we’ve started learning when we were kids. Encourage your kids to try different kids activities to discover what they enjoy doing. The key is not to force certain ideas upon your kids and allow them time and freedom to find out for themselves what hold their interests. This way, they will enjoy themselves more and therefore more likely to stick with their new found hobbies in the long run. There are many kids activities that have been found to be particularly stimulating to the young minds, such as learning to play a musical instrument and arts and craft activities .
- Keep their wondrous, young minds stimulated
Activities that involve problem solving and using memory helps to keep young minds sharp and agile. If you kid enjoy mind challenging activities, they’ll enjoy the company of chess, problem solving board games and puzzles. Get the whole family involved by dedicating one night of the week as ‘family games night’, where you challenge your kids to a game of chess, Cluedo, Scrabble of if you dare - a round of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
- Be a Social Butterfly
There are a lot of life skills that a kid can’t learn from the classroom and the ability to interact with others is one of those important life skills that all kids should learn from a young age. Encourage your kids to have interaction time with their friends from school outside of the classroom environment by inviting them over for sleep overs or family BBQs. There are lots of activities that young kids can get involve in that not only connect them to like-minded people outside of school but also help to develop their social skills - try theatre classes and lessons and activities run by local youth clubs.
- Sufficient rest time
With the overdrive of energy kids have, it is important to make sure they get sufficient rest everyday. Sleep deprivation harm the brain by not providing it with enough time to repair damage, which often result in grumpy and unmotivated kids. A good afternoon nap and sleep at night (8 hours or more) helps your kids to better retain the information they’ve learnt throughout the day so make sure they get enough beauty sleep in a day!
If all this is not enough to keep your kid busy, then be sure to check out our kids activities directory for more mind stimulating kids activities.
Before becoming a very devoted Mum of two, Annabel had a high energy career as a chef. She lives in Christchurch with her husband Mark and their daughters, who are still reaping the beneftis of her culinary skills today. Annabel loves blogging on ActiveActivities, where she can share her passions and ideass for bringing up healthy kids.