For the past year, children have mostly been stuck inside, in front of a computer for school, and on a device during free time. And as much as parents have tried to keep their children active, it’s been a struggle with the limitations of many activities. But now, as communities begin opening back up in a fuller capacity, we must get children moving again. The summer is a perfect time for this. The key, however, is to find activities that focus on the developmental needs of children so they can rebuild any lost physical progress quickly while also developing an advanced skill set. This will lay the groundwork for all other areas of development to also be expanded.
The development of fundamental motor skills such as hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, balance, strength, and agility are necessary for a child’s physical development. The vestibular and proprioceptive senses need to be exercised, although they are often overlooked because “safety first” is typically the priority. But children’s activity level is critical not only for their physical development but also for their intellectual, social, and emotional development. It also helps to maintain good health and encourages a healthy lifestyle. These things combined give children the most excellent chance for optimal development.
To give children the physical boost they need for reigniting essential development, participation in activities that build age-appropriate motor skills is vital. Providing opportunities for children to have playtime outside, on playgrounds, or in an organized activity will allow them to exert extra energy, build strength and agility, and engage their proprioceptive and vestibular senses. These things will elevate a child’s physical skills and improve their mood, which contributes to better cognitive growth and produces more positive social interactions. This makes physical activity an essential foundational element for a whole-child development approach.
One of the best ways to maximize the summertime is by engaging children in organized activities that simultaneously improve all development areas. The Gentle East Martial Arts Program does just that. The program’s foundation is based on martial arts, but the methodology was founded on cutting-edge research in the areas of science and psychology. Classes and camps target all areas of a child’s development by engaging children in fun, age-appropriate activities. By doing this, the Instructors create an engaging environment and allows for the most significant opportunities for growth in each child.
As the time spent on devices has surged to an all-time high, children must be reengaged in activities that boost their physical development and health. Finding programs that create the best opportunities for this while also enhancing other areas of development will multiply the benefits. As children get back on track with physical activity during the summer, all areas of their life will improve. Then, by the end of the summer, children will be refocused, rejuvenated, and ready to start the new school year.
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Author: Jennifer Salama of Skillz Worldwide. Edited by Master Eric Rangel-Ribeiro
Jennifer is a 4th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 2001. She has a Master’s Degree in Child Psychology and has embraced the SKILLZ curriculum because of its focus on child development and using martial arts as a vehicle to develop the child as a whole.