There you are. Sitting at your desk. You try to make thoughts turn into words—but it’s like someone turned off that faucet in your brain. You want to crack that equation—but you just can’t see the relationship between the variables and the constants. And so on.
One thing’s for sure. When you’re stuck on something you just can’t figure out…
You WANT TO GET OUT OF THERE!
To the Bahamas. To the Rockies. To ANYWHERE but your desk.
You’re about to GO BANANAS!
Whoa there. You know, you’re onto something!
Your brain is trying to tell you that it needs a break from those hard-and-fast rules that keep you in that desktop prison.
What makes you think that your kids don’t need that too?
Turns out, that longing you have for an escape valve when thinking gets tough has a pretty strong basis in brain science—neuroscience…
Kids Need to Move
In his ground-breaking book, Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, renowned Harvard Medical School associate professor John Ratey points out that there is a very real connection between exercise and—you guessed it—your child’s brain.
Turns out, that connection is an itty-bitty molecule called BDNF. Because it makes your brain cells sprout out the kinds of branches whose job it is to help you learn, it acts like “Miracle-Gro” for your brain—and for learning. It also helps you rev up chemicals in your body that make you feel good—a double shot of good vibes that help you get over that mental hump—be it writer’s block or a dead end in a math problem.
Teachers in schools all over Canada and the U.S. have tested this connection—and surprise, surprise—their students have increased their test scores, even on über-boring standardized tests! These “brain breaks” help kids shift their brain’s gear into overdrive, sparking leaps in their creativity and problem-solving abilities.
But exercise isn’t all kids need. They need to play, too.
Kids Need to Play
Imagination, too, needs to be a part of your kids’ brain breaks. Added to movement, play ignites a child’s imagination to jumpstart her or his stalled brain. Dr. Ratey’s Harvard-trained colleague, noted child psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, points this out in his own book, Shine, calling play “the highest activity of the human brain.”
According to Hallowell, play is any activity in which “your imagination lights up.”
So… the next time your kids need a break, turn on a fun exercise video that features zany cartoon characters—like one of our favourite—Koo Koo Kanga Roo’s “Get Yo’ Body Movin’:
Spark their imagination. Give their brains a break. Why not go bananas for a little bit?