Brain Breaks are activities for those who work with children. They last five to ten minutes and help students focus on academic material. Typically, Brain Breaks are used by teachers who work with children ranging from preschool through college, but other people can use them too. Experts agree that they should be used every 25 minutes or so, or at certain breaks in an academic day. Short movement activities in the instructional day not only allow students to get their “wiggles” out, but energize them and increase their ability to focus on the next learning activity. As our world becomes busier, many parents are not able to take their children outside for supervised physical activity. Experts agree that Brain Breaks get their minds focused and their blood pumping.
It is essential that children have early movement exploration programs in order to develop normally and completely into successful athletes as adults. Early training in perceptual motor learning must include total involvement in the environment. Infants can track an object held close to them by moving their entire body. Later this tracking develops tracking in a variety of directions, a skill that is essential in preparation for catching and throwing a ball. Holding a baby in various positions is also important. This causes effective kinesthetic skills as you hold and carry the baby in different positions.
Propriception can be developed in the pool. Putting an infant partially in the water will stimulate movement and improve perception. Infants have natural swimming abilities until they are about a quarter of a year old. Reinforcing this skill early will ensure that the reflex will not disappear and fear of the water later will diminish.
There are general guidelines about when to call a doctor for a sport or exercise injury. I will first discuss guidelines to waiting and seeing if the injury needs medical attention. Secondly, I will discuss how to talk to children about waiting and listening to their body. Lastly, I will outline injuries that require a prompt doctor’s visit.
Minor injuries of the muscles and joints do not generally require a visit to the doctor. Pains from minor injuries caused by generally resolve themselves after initial rest, stretching, and then systematically strengthening. If the pain does not disappear in a few weeks, generally it is recommended that the child should go to a doctor. It is essential to teach children what delay onset muscle soreness is what it feels like. Educate them so they understand what is happening in their muscular systems. A student should learn to wait and see how the injury feels. Listening to their body is an effective way to know if the pain warrants a visit to the physician. The child should learn the difference between discomfort and pain beyond tolerance. If the pain is severe, prompt attention to the doctor is necessary.
Motor skills are developed in different stages for various children. It is essential that each child learns the major movement activities in order to have a life-long appreciation of fitness. During early childhood, there should be an opportunity to work on walking, balancing, throwing, and catching.
Children should have trial and error experiences as well as beginning drills and the integration of skills in specific sport games. Skills are learned by body through mind learning. Emphasis should be on imitation and games that cause children to assume proper movement patterns. Proper form must be shown through fun games and activities.
Children in a elementary school fitness program should learn to love physical activities, develop basic motor and perceptual abilities. There should be an emphasis on balance, body and space awareness, hand/eye coordination, and running skills. Specialization of skills should be saved for the junior high elementary program.
A good program should involve personalization for each child. A child who is slow or handicapped should receive the same attention as a gifted athlete. Children should learn to love physical education and see the importance of adding it to their daily routine.
Children must learn to master running, jumping, throwing, and catching. Proper form must be emphasized and systematically taught. Children should have opportunities to work on their perceptual-motor abilities and overcome any perceptual motor deficiencies. Children need to learn the rules and basics for sports and specific instruction to work on the general skills needed for that sport. Sports should be taught for a lifetime.
Every adult in a child’s life has the possibility to make a positive difference in that young person’s life. This positive influence can be felt in a variety of ways. Most important, make sports and fitness activities fun.
Specialization of sports should not begin until adolescence. Allow a child to have the opportunity to try as many kinds of athletic activities as he shows an interest. Keep the environment of fitness safe and exciting. Find out the reason for the child’s desire to be involved in the activity. Is it to play with his friends or to develop in a particular sport or activity? Winning should not be the result of competing in sports. There should be more focus on skill development rather than on perfect performance.