AGES: 5 – 7 years

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWIMMING

  • Swimming is not only fun, but it’s a great way to keep fit
  • Swimming is low-impact and has many physical and mental health benefits
  • Builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular rigidity
  • Swimming is a healthy activity that you can do for your entire life

Swimming is an excellent recreational activity for people of all ages. Recreational swimming not only provides a low-impact workout, but it’s also a good way to relax and de-stress. Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are the dog paddle, the breaststroke, the backstroke, sidestroke, etc.

Swimming is an excellent way to workout your entire body, as well as strengthen your cardiovascular system. It is said that an hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, without all the negative impact on your bones and joints.

Some people who enjoy and show aptitude at swimming may be inclined to take it to a competitive level. This can provide the health benefits of a more intense workout, as well as the fun and thrill of competition and comradery. Some of the competitive swimming styles commonly seen are the breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. The distances in a swimming competition can vary from 50 Meters in a pool to much further distances in open bodies of water. Swimming may even help reduce some types of chronic pain or improve your recovery from an injury, when applied correctly. One study showed that people with arthritis reported a significant reduction in joint pain and stiffness, and experienced a better physical range after engaging in activities like swimming.

Swimming may even have a beneficial effect and improve your recovery from mental  injury, and degrading capability. One study evaluated a small group of people with dementia and found a distinct improvement in mood after participating in a 12-week structured aquatic program. Swimming and aquatic workouts aren’t just for people with dementia, of course. Exercise has been shown to boost mood in people straight across the board and is highly recommended as a great healthy pastime in moderation.

A couple things to note: It’s a good idea to warm up by stretching your muscles and bending joints before you enter the water.  Also, remember not to over do it if you’re just starting out!

THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING MAGNA TILES

  • Promotes critical thinking 
  • Imaginative play 
  • Engages problem solving  
  • Develops cognitive abilities 
  • Pattern distinguishing 

As children develop their ability to create, play, and imagine, it is important to nurture those qualities in a fun and scholastic way. Engaging your toddler with toys that encourage them to think, solve and construct their ideas into reality is an effective method to accomplish this while embracing a fun and healthy environment.  Being able to take control and make decisions based on what the child’s imagination wants to create is just the start to what can be an efficient way to build cognitive abilities.

Magna Tiles give children the chance to imagine, plan, create, and express themselves in a creative and educational way.  At its most basic level, each tile connects to each other, forming a pattern or a shape, but it is important to distinguish what benefits it provides as well.  When playing with a toy such as Magna Tiles, a toddler’s imagination increases and opens the door to the many combinations of shapes and sizes they can form.  For each design that pops into their mind, there is a pattern of tiles that can make that a reality.  Alongside this, they get a taste of problem solving whenever they have to think through which tile to use to get them to their desired creation.  This promotes critical abilities of logicing through problems, aiding in cognitive improvement and the practice of essential motor skills.   

Being creative is not only fun, but it inspires toddlers to concentrate on an idea and to establish hand eye coordination through play.  Critical thinking with imaginative play is a great way to improve skills for further use at school and life in general.  It gives children the chance to independently make decisions that can lead to confidence building and healthy social skills.  Being able to provide children fun and efficient ways to learn and grow is always a parent’s goal and Magna Tiles is a great fun option to help them achieve it.

PICTIONARY

  • Increases logic skills
  • Helps Improve creativity
  • Improves memory retention and cognition
  • Helps refine hand-eye coordination

The game Pictionary is a great group activity that can engage children in creative drawing and the development of visualizing ideas.  Alongside this proactivity towards creativity is the practice of logic and problem-solving skills. A great activity for memorization and motor skill development with hand-eye coordination, these aspects about the game create the opportunity to teach children important elements that can benefit their education experience.

When playing Pictionary, logic is used in different ways. First of all it engages the player when you are drawing the prompt handed to you.  You must consider the audience and draw something that can lead to the answer for your team, creating healthy communication skills and logic skills at the same time.  The team members trying to guess the image and decipher what is the image drawn are using the same cognitive abilities, but in reverse.  Getting into the perspective of the player who is drawing necessitates the creative use of logic within the context of the game.  Pictionary helps hand-eye coordination by the act of drawing and focusing on what the drawing is to represent, and it helps improve memory retention and cognition by putting a name or title on the drawing itself and taking the win. 

Educationally speaking, Pictionary is a great method for supplemental teaching as well, bringing it out of the classroom and into the family environment.  You can make your own prompts related to any topic you want to teach or discuss, and as a team each person can draw out the identified prompt.  This can enhance leadership abilities and create a healthy way for teamwork exercises.  Pictionary helps break the ice in a social situation and it can engage children in a social academic experience, growing their confidence and practicing pattern recognition and memory at the same time.

CHESS, A GAME FOR THE MIND

  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Teaches creative problem solving
  • Helps improve concentration
  • It exercises both sides of the brain

Chess is one of the most played board games historically worldwide. It is played in almost every country and players ranging from small children all the way up to the elderly are able to enjoy what it has to offer. Why is this board game so popular, and for so long? Why do we teach children to play from an early age in schools? The answer is simple, this board game has been proven over time and many studies to be great developmental tool for education and mental abilities.

Chess is a fun game that challenges the brain, and the players’ abilities of strategic planning and patience. Scientists have studied the brain activity of people while playing chess and have found that both sides of the brain light up, engaging both the creative as well as logical functions, just like a musician playing an instrument. A player needs to visualize their moves beforehand, anticipating their opponents turns, and at the same time be present in a game that requires a high level of focus. A child can benefit from the multiple levels of thought needed to play a good game of chess in all aspects of life. Increasing their memory, logic, and mental capacity in general while enjoying some healthy competition, it is easy to see how the longevity of this game has come to be.

Mainly, chess is a game that works with and improves a person’s critical thinking skills. It helps children to think ahead of what they are doing as they strategize their next moves. Making plans and backup plans, assessing the situation, and deducting your opponent’s next moves are some of the skills that children acquire in chess. A person who plays chess learns to be detail-oriented, organized, and prepared. In the long run, those are great skills that apply to nearly any situation life can throw at you.

Chess directly teaches about problem solving and plan execution. Because of how the game is set up, players must think in creative ways to find solutions when their opponent challenges them. The child learns to see the different angles of a problem to decide what will be the right course of action. The child is building the cognitive skills that are crucial to success in life with every game they play. This kind of problem solving and strategic logic can be applied to other subjects like math and critical reading as they advance in their schoolwork.

For children who have difficulty paying attention, chess can be a great tool to help them to focus on one thing at a time. The game requires a high degree of concentration which helps children acquire the skills to stay focused on their ultimate goal, to checkmate the opponent and claim victory. One of the valuable lessons taught in chess is to not get distracted and be aware of the pieces and their potential moves, both for themselves and their opponents. Players need to devote all their attention to the board in order to play well – a good lesson to learn early on in life. Once you learn to play chess, including the more advanced strategies, the game is very entertaining and can be a definite source of lifelong pride.

FEED THE WOOZLE COOPERATIVE GAME

  • Communication skills
  • Learning to share
  • Motor Skills
  • Counting

Board games, in the right context, can be excellent  educational materials disguised as entertainment. It is a great opportunity to pass time and build social skills with the entire family, with the added benefit of teaching children important life skills while having fun. Board games are designed to be played in groups of two or more, which allows people to comfortably sit down and create the space to talk and interact with each other. A fun game that brings everyone together and is worth considering, is Feed the Woozle. This game, and many others like it, help children develop their communication skills by the simple act of playing. Children get to follow the instructions and have to learn to work together to win the game. The goal for the players is to cooperate in order to be successful, teaching children the wonderful lesson of how to share while developing healthy social skills.    

Playing games such as Feed the Woozle Game aids toddlers develop their motor skills early on. The game fosters simple hand-eye coordination movements such as moving a spoon up and down and forward to feed the Woozle. Also, it is a good way to practice balance and moving their body through space, such as holding a spoon steady to keep the food in its place. Pretending to feed chocolate-covered flies and hairy pickles trains children to eat using utensils in a giggle inducing fashion. This type of play correlates with learning to eat by themselves in the real world and balance the spoon until it reaches their mouths, instead of the floor. Besides, who wouldn’t want to eat flies and hairy pickles?

Another feature of Feed the Woozle Game that applies to many other similar board games is learning and counting numbers. A child practices how to count while feeding the Woozle some snacks. Depending on the number of the rolled dice, the player must put that number of flies and pickles on their spoons. Throughout the game the child is constantly counting the snacks and turns. The repetition of counting in each turn is a good way to establish a good foundation for basic math skills.  Additionally, the game has three levels of difficulty that can be played – once the child has mastered a level they can go up to the next. Making a game more challenging as skills increase is perfect for keeping engagement high, and your child will continue to play and enjoy themselves for years to come.

THE BENEFITS OF DOMINOES

  • Helps to develop critical thinking skills
  • Bond with families and social groups
  • Reduces stress
  • Improve memory retention

There are many classic board games that can be useful in classroom settings and have been proven to be effective, if unconventional, tools for learning. Games such as Dominoes are great for translating critical thinking and memory exercises into real world settings, with ramifications applied for the decisions made. Children benefit from games like this because they present them with challenges that require creativity and thinking outside the box. Dominoes is a game that requires a high level of strategy and planning in order to win. How the game works, a player analyzes the board to deduct what Domino tiles the other players have left, based on how they played each round. The game forces the player to be constantly guessing their opponents’ tiles and strategizing to block their moves in order to control the board and win the game. This type of skill can later be applied to lessons such as logical reasoning exercises as well as working through mathematical equations.       

In Dominoes, it is vital that the player stays sharp in order to win the game. The concentration and focus required to play well benefit children’s memory retention. Dominoes has twenty-eight tiles to use in different combinations; the player needs to memorize and understand the usefulness of the seven they have in their hand in order to effectively understand their opponents play options. So, when it’s the player’s turn, they have gathered the essential information to anticipate their opponents in order to make strategic moves to control the board, and ultimately win the game. There have been studies that have found that playing Dominoes helps children improve their visual abilities and even assists in the development of photographic memories. The way a child builds their ability to memorize the Dominoes tiles can later be applied to schoolwork for example in learning the periodic table, or in any one of the unlimited applications in the real world. 

Another wonderful benefit of Dominoes is that it can be played anywhere. Dominoes is a game that can be played in any social setting, whether it is a family gathering, or at a party with friends, and can even be used as a fun break between study sessions. You can play in teams of two or individually, which plays into variations of strategy. It is a great tool for children to bond with older family members since there is no age limit either direction for the game.

Dominoes is a great opportunity for a child’s social confidence and skills to blossom. Unlike some other board games, in Dominoes players are encouraged to have fun banter and conversations in between plays. Playing Dominoes creates an environment where players are encouraged to talk amongst each other. People of all ages benefit from this type of healthy competition. The game is a great way to boost endorphins and reduce any stresses of the day. Plus, it is an activity that can involve the entire family where everyone can unwind and just have fun together.

PLAYING THE PIANO

  • Increases your memory capacity
  • Exercises both sides of the brain
  • Enhances Split Concentration
  • Playing the piano teaches concentration and discipline

Playing the piano offers a plethora of health and mental benefits that will supplement every part of your life. And, that doesn’t even begin to expand on the deep network and historical tradition of the instrument and art. Even though you’re sitting down, playing the piano is somewhat of a mental and physical workout all its own. It offers different physical and physiological advantages to players of all ages. For instance, regular piano playing improves fine motor skills and betters hand-eye coordination in the young and developing. Research has also shown that piano lessons for adults have a significant impact on increased levels of Human Growth Hormone, which slows the adverse effects of the mind and body aging. Playing the piano is also proven to reduce anxiety, heart and respiratory rates, cardiac complications, and to lower blood pressure which in turn increases immune response.

Piano practice boosts cognitive and intellectual capabilities, which is to say, it makes you smarter and activates similar parts of the brain used in reasoning and math. Studying piano has also been shown to improve memory,  particularly verbal memory, and can build good habits like focus, perseverance, diligence and creativity. Children who have had a few years of piano study could remember 20% more vocabulary words than their peers. And childhood taught musicians are said to be better equipped later in life to retain information from presentations and lectures.

Playing piano has been shown to increase spatial temporal ability, which is heavily involved in math, science and engineering. Regular music practice at an early age can even make physical/structural changes to the brain that stay with you for the rest of your life, making your brain more efficient both while playing and in endeavors outside the musical realm. Playing piano has also been shown to be a great way to relieve stress, and provide opportunities to bolster self-esteem. It is also widely used as a form of therapy for Attention Deficit Disorder, helping individuals learn to focus in a structured way.

THE GAME OF CONCENTRATION

  • Helps concentration and focus
  • Improve memory retention
  • Refine logic skills
  • Improves visual cognition

Concentration is a classic memory card game that is still widely played all over the world today. The simple nature of this popular game has made it a favorite with young children, but different versions have emerged over the years that also tailor to a variety of different audiences. True to its name, this game will build concentration and focus, as well as memory and recognition.

The game is very straightforward – A deck of cards is laid out facedown and then players take turns flipping them two at a time, in search for matching pairs. Once a player finds two matching cards they get to keep the pair, otherwise they are put back. The player with the most matches at the end wins the game. Cards are often colorful or unique, which is another reason that children are drawn to playing this game.

Concentration is a fantastic tool to help children build focus and memory retention through play. As the game progresses, they will learn to use logic and deductive reasoning to recognize patterns and find matches. Practicing these skills at an age where the brain is rapidly developing improves cognitive function quickly and sets a solid foundation for learning more complicated concepts down the line. Children who play memory games like Concentration are more likely to develop a love and curiosity for learning and will be able to apply these skills in future education.

SIMON THE MEMORY LIGHT GAME

  • Increases memory cognition
  • Improves concentration and logic
  • Encourages motor skills
  • Improves hand-eye coordination

Simon the Memory Light Game has been a groovy fixture in family game night since the 70’s. As the name suggests, this game will put your memory skills to the test. Games like Simon the Memory Light Game will help people of all ages train their memory while having fun. This pattern repetition game can especially help young children, as increased memory retention enables them to retain information better in school. Players will have their memory tested by having to learn, remember, and repeat long color patterns that are given by the game. The rounds are timed and players to don’t finish the sequence in time will lose the round.

A benefit of games such as Simon the Memory Light Game is that they utilize and require concentration and logic skills in play. Like many other pattern-repeating games, the player needs to focus on the commands given in order to learn and repeat the sequence. This forces the player to really pay attention to details such as the lights, pace, sounds, and colors of the buttons that will help him or her recall the pattern. Players also utilize logic, reasoning, and problem solving as they analyze the best strategy for playing the game. Sharpening these skills leads to better cognitive performance and quicker decision-making abilities.

The design of the game also helps improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Just like the game Simon Says, players have to move their hands to follow the commands of the lights. As the game progresses, the patterns become longer and more intricate and the speed of the movements will increase. These movements help to strengthen the mind-body connection. While Simon the Memory Light Game has the same basic principle as Simon Says, the upgraded electronic component of this game makes it an exciting alternative for children and adults alike.

TEETER POPPER

  • improves core strength
  • stability
  • leg strength
  • balance
  • coordination

An important aspect, although maybe not intuitive at first, of every child’s education is taking the time to do physical activities alongside their schoolwork. Studies such as the one conducted by pediatricians in the University of Illinois have shown that exercising after a lesson or homework helps children with retention and to do better scholastically in general. Exercising is a great way to balance schoolwork for any age, especially if you are able to take short breaks between classes. The Teeter Popper is a great toy to encourage that physical activity between breaks as well as playtime, anytime.

When looking for activities to get children moving, it is essential that they engage in a fashion that the entire body is involved. The Teeter Popper benefits a child’s core strength which helps create a healthy posture and more endurance while doing more advanced physical activities such as playing basketball or soccer. The ease that the Teeter Popper can be used during study breaks is great because it is not so intense as to exhaust the child, but instead gives a natural boost of endorphin fueled energy. Having this break and getting some light exercise in can kickstart learning as they can burn off the excess energy and come back focused and alert for their lessons.

A fact of modern life is that we tend to be in a seated position for long periods of time, which often leads to slouching and bad posture in general. The Teeter Popper is a great way to offset this because the child needs to stay balanced as they play on it. Engaging the legs in this way directly builds balance and strength, which is doubly great if they can’t go outside for a run at the time or prefer to be indoors.

Another benefit of a toy like this is its portability; it can be easily moved and removed so that it doesn’t interrupt study time or leave a messy home. The Teeter Potter can be moved or stored in any part of the house, so parents can decide when and where their child plays, and be able to watch over them as they practice and play. The Teeter Popper allows children to come up with fun and creative tricks to show off, which helps build creativity and their overall body coordination and stability. Often, we tend to focus on the more cerebral aspects of learning, but don’t discount the importance of physical activity during those study sessions to keep your kids focused on the topic at hand. Playing with toys like the Teeter Popper doesn’t take up too much time or space, and it exercises the child’s entire body in a fun way with the long term benefits of both their body and mind.

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