Summer can be an important time for children because they’re out of school even while their brains are undergoing critical changes. It’s an ideal time to promote active habits that will benefit children both physically and cognitively throughout their life. If you are seeking ways to help keep your child healthy and learning during the summer months, make sure to look for active summer programs that help your child’s brain.
The Mind-Body Link
Many people understand the physical benefits of activity. Studies have found that children who maintain moderate physical activity have a lower risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and potentially some forms of cancer. Yet the benefits of activity in children extend to their brain development as well.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, exercise can bolster children’s cognition in several ways, such as improving executive function, processing speed, and memory. Activity can also help manage symptoms of depression, in addition to lowering children’s risk of developing depression in the first place.
Avoid The Summer Brain Drain
When your child isn’t in school, it’s possible for them to regress on skills they’ve picked up during the academic year. One way of helping prevent the dreaded brain drain until kids are back in the classroom is for them to engage in summer programs. Though making kids do academic work all summer shouldn’t be the answer. Many summer programs and camps offer kids the opportunity to promote brain development by staying active as opposed to sitting in front of the TV watching shows or playing video games.
Some active summer programs, such as the Providence Children’s Academy summer camp, will take kids on field trips and get them excited about learning through fun educational games.
Too Much Sitting
Several sources have agreed that healthy children should get approximately 60 minutes of exercise each day. But the CDC reported that less than a quarter of adolescents ages 6-17 hit this daily exercise target. This could be due to our increasingly sedentary world, in which children sit behind desks and computers rather than exercise and play. This could also be explained by an emphasis on academic performance in the classroom, which some people incorrectly believe could come at the expense of unnecessary play time.
However, in order to excel academically, children need physical activity as well. It is important to take concrete actions to ensure that children get the appropriate amount of exercise to help their minds and bodies develop. Even if children do not get the full 60 minutes daily of aerobic exercise, studies have shown that any activity is beneficial for both their minds and bodies.
Activity’s Impact On The Brain
An active lifestyle improves health, which improves overall wellness and thus promotes brain development. However, activity has specific impacts on the brain, and children can reap these benefits in their growing years to prolong the effect into adulthood.
Cardio exercise increases blood flow to the brain as you breathe harder and your heart pumps faster. A result of this is more oxygen reaching the brain, which enables the creation of neurons in certain areas of the brain. This positively affects memory and learning, which are especially important characteristics in a child’s brain development.
There is also evidence to suggest that in the long run, activity can potentially reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. Encouraging children to have active lifestyles from a young age can have a lasting effect throughout their lives.
How Active Summer Programs Can Help Children
Children may not want to get their daily dose of physical activity through traditional exercise like lifting weights or doing regimented workouts, and they shouldn’t have to. Luckily, they can move their bodies while having fun at the same time through active summer programs.
At programs and camps such as those, kids can play tag, swim, do gymnastics, dance, climb on playground equipment, jump rope, and play sports. These exercises can help them develop motor skills and movement patterns. Plus, working with other kids teaches them important social skills, such as collaboration, communication, and leadership. Summer programs can facilitate some of these activities, such as dancing and playing sports, through more structured time, or they can give children free time or recess to let them have unstructured activity.
Finding The Right Program For Your Child
Providence Children’s Academy offers a fun-filled summer camp that caters to children ages 5-12. We provide an educational, exciting, and most importantly, active summer program for kids over the summer. Give us a call today at 954-570-6914 to learn more about the opportunities we can offer your child.