Summer Activities to Stay Healthy and Promote Brain Development
It is finally July and with it comes the hot and humid weather. July is considered to be one of the hottest months of the year and it is also when students are at home enjoying their summer break. It is important that during this long break from school they still participate in activities that promotes their mental and physical growth. This year more than ever parents are responsible to keep their children engaged since daycares and summer activities are all closed due to COVID- 19 (MedicalXpress). The list of activities below can serve as a guide for parents and children to keep themselves engaged over summer.
Activity 1: Promote foundational learning (especially in younger children). Younger children especially those who go to pre-school and attend daycare rely on those places for their brain growth. They learn about basic skills like recognizing letters and numbers which are important for their academic growth. In order to continue the brain growth, parents should engage them in activities such as board games or play a counting game that helps them refresh their memory and what they have already learned. Parents could also play videos from YouTube like the alphabet song or some educational cartoons that have catchy jingles in them. Young children respond well to jingles and tend to learn better that way. They should also engage them in games that develop their motor and cognitive skill. They can play games such as solving a puzzle, using Lego’s and building a model house or other games that will promote positive brain growth.
Activity 2: Staying active (for all ages). As I mentioned earlier, July is one of the hottest months of the year and it can be used to enjoy nature and all of its beautiful perks. Something I like to do a lot is to go on a walk or a jog around my neighborhood. Since the temperature outside is warmer than usual, our body tends to produce more sweat and, in the process, we burn more calories which helps us stay fit. Another activity that we can participate in is swimming. Swimming burns a lot of calories and is a fun and relaxing method to stay healthy. It is something that can be done with the whole family and can be a great bonding exercise too. My personal favorite is to work out by using weights. Weight lifting can be a lot of fun and is a great way to work towards a healthy and self-fulfilling image of yourself. Some other activities that help burn a lot of calories are: Riding a bike, trekking and running on a treadmill amongst others. It is always important to warm up before engaging in any of these activities and it is important to stay hydrated while working out.
Activity 3: Reading (for all ages). As we have been home for about 5 months this is the perfect time to catch up on some of the must reads. Reading can be a relaxing and learning activity. It helps our brain learn more and sharpens our vocabulary. With everything going on in the nation right now, we can also use our time to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement and read some books about the movement and everything around it.
Some educational books are:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (BLM)
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (BLM)
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (BLM)
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States by Alicia Garza, Maya Schenwar (BLM)
How Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos (BLM)
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Medical)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Medical)
White Coat: Becoming a Doctor at Harvard Medical School by Ellen Rothman (Medical)
This Side of Doctoring: Reflections from Women in Medicine by Eliza Lo Chin (Medical)
Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School by Melvin Konner (Medical)
Activity 3: Keeping up with the world (for all ages). As we are living in a time of uncertainty it is important to keep up with what is going on around us. There are several ways to do that and my personal favorite is by watching a daily brief of the top news around the world on YouTube. With apps such as the News app on iPhone and other news channel app we can get steady updates about what is going on around us and can keep up with our surroundings. We can also use social media to know the latest news since several news channels and politicians, post major news on their social media.
Activity 4: Maintaining a regular schedule (for all ages). This is perhaps the most difficult activity on the list. Many students who are in middle and high school tend to stay up late and wake up late. This still provides them with the 7+ hours of sleep they need but it conflicts with their daily schedule. Sleeping in can make one dull and less likely to participate in activities they normally would engage in. This is something I struggle with myself, as I tend to stay up late and wake up late. It is important for us to go to bed at a time we normally would because our body is used to that and is the peak time when our body needs to rest. Having a regular schedule will help a lot when school reopens as it will help us adjust back to our school timing and life.
Activity 5: Relaxing (for all ages). This is perhaps the most important and easiest task on the list. Please make sure to relax. Given the current situation, it is important to relax and focus on our mental health. Make sure to call and check on your friends and family and make sure they are all doing well. Some activities that can help us relax are: Yoga, Meditation, listening to music, watching Netflix and so on.