child's shoes outside

Movement and Learning

More and research shows us the negative effects technology can have on our brains and learning. However, increasing evidence shows us the value in moving and being outside for a healthy body and mind.  Even just 5-10 minutes of outside time has been proven to restore mental energy, reduce stress, improve short-term memory, and give your immune system a boost. Here are 5 ideas for getting “green time” in with your kiddos.

Grab a paintbrush and bucket of water: Wetting a paint brush with water and “painting” your house or sidewalk can provide your kiddos with hours of fun! If your child is young, add language to the activity such “wet” vs “dry,” “some” vs “all” and “up” & “down.”  Have a race to see who can “paint” faster.

Draw with chalk: Not only is sidewalk chalk fun, but it encourages crossing midline (the imaginary line down the center of the body that divides it into left and right). By drawing pictures such as rainbows, you can encourage your child to rotate at the trunk and cross their hands to the other side of their body.  This helps integrate both sides of the body, helps young children determine their handedness, and may even increase attention and concentration skills.

Run as fast as you can: Vigorous physical exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels, build social skills, and increase brain development. Not only is this a benefit for your child, the same is true for adults!

Play familiar games: Games such as “Mother, May I?” and “Simon Says” are not only fun, but also target core areas of executive functioning. Children have to stop when it’s not their turn (inhibition), remember the rules of the game (working memory), and be flexible about the changing rules  (cognitive flexibility).

Open ended, creative play: During open ended play, children have to work through all of the challenges that arise during play. All of this problem solving, negotiating with others, and creative thinking help build executive functioning skills.


Brooke Andrews, speech therapist in Houston

Brooke Andrews, M.A CCC-SLP is the owner of The Speech Dynamic, PLLC, a boutique speech therapy practice in Houston, TX. Brooke has presented at various conferences and shares her expertise in her workshops for parents, teachers, and other clinicians.. Her clinical expertise include speech, language, social learning, and executive functioning.

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