Encouraging Summer writing means more than simply sitting your child behind a computer screen. We’ve already shared some great tips for fun family Summer writing activities, but did you know that physical exercise can also help boost brain power? Studies show that regular physical exercise can directly improve executive functioning skills such as Working Memory and Focus, which can go on to indirectly improve writing skills.
Exercise can also help kids develop a passion for sports and the outdoors, providing ample opportunities for kids to write about topics that genuinely interest them. Read on for a few fun ways to help engage your child in physical exercise and improve writing skills.
1.) Play Ball! Go to a ballgame and have your child listen carefully to the announcers covering the game, or listen to a radio or television reporter’s sports broadcast. Note the story-telling techniques employed (highlights of important plays, injuries, final scores, ect.). Next, hold a pick-up game with some family and friends, and have your child participate. Afterwards, ask him to write a short two-minute recap, modeling his writing after a real-life sportscast. Consider going the “whole nine yards” and have your child dress up for the role, sit behind a desk and deliver the recap to a video camera.
2.) Get Into Nature. Become a nature writer. Go on a trip to the zoo and have your child take notes about what he sees while you walk the grounds. Use a smartphone with a “Notes” app, or dictation app such as Dragon Dictation to record observations and later have him use these notes to describe his experience in writing. Taking the notes will be a good way to help him to organize his thoughts and can lead to an important skill for improving writing.
3.) Try a New Sport. Engage in a new sport that requires complex, coordinated body movement such as tennis, gymnastics, karate, or BMX biking. Not only do these sports exercise executive functioning skills such as Focus and Working memory, they all require an orderly, systematic, and repeatable approach to be successful. Explain how the same apporach must go into good writing, noting that in both cases, “practice makes perfect.” Get your child writing about his experience with the new sport, perhaps blogging about practice, taking photos and composing short tweets via Twitter, or simply journaling about the experience in an app like SimpleNote or Private Journal.