This one is for the kids!
It’s creeping towards mid-January and we’ve all been on holiday for quite a while now… so what have you been up to? Getting out and enjoying adventure in the outdoors, catching up on some books you have been meaning to read… or have you been glued to a screen for the best part of each day?
We are still learning about the effects of our online lifestyle, but there’s a whole history of research into the dangers of an inactive brain – and brain deterioration is a real risk during the long summer break! When was the last time you solved a puzzle? Read about a new topic? Practised an instrument or a foreign language? These are all activities that can maintain healthy brain function while on holiday.
If you are travelling, there are even more opportunities to use your brain, provided you are not staring at a screen. Reading a map, navigating a new territory, calculating time and currency differences, visiting historical sites, and even eating new foods all give the brain plenty of exercise.
Did you know that physical activity can also make you smarter? The health benefits of exercise include increased oxygen to the brain, aiding brain cell growth and function. And of course, engaging in sports, team games and other physical activity helps you learn new skills.
Engaging with other people through conversation, board games and all kinds of other fun activities strengthens your brain too. Social interactions such as these make use of your senses, language centre, reasoning and problem-solving skills, to name a few brain activities.
Another very important reason to keep your brain working this summer is so that you are better able to remember everything you learned last year… and to be ship-shape for the school year ahead. Studies have shown that a large percentage of what is learned can be forgotten after a long break. If you are worried about this, you may consider some warm-up tutoring sessions in January to help you get back into learning-mode and refresh some concepts that might be a little hazy. Or you may like to play some challenging maths and language games to get your brain thinking in this way.
Our brains contain important centres with different functions, such as making sense of visual information or comparing things. These centres help us understand everything in our world, and since they are activated by different activities we do and experiences we have… it makes sense to get some variety into your holiday!