Age of Learning may be the company behind ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy, the multi-award-winning online learning resource for children 2 – 6, but we don’t want young children sitting at a computer or holding a tablet all the time—even if they’re learning.
We think childhood should also be the age of running, jumping, stretching, riding, and playing. Developing strength, stamina, and coordination through exercise and physical activity has long been part of healthy childhood development. Kids need to move.
There have even been some studies that suggested that physical activity could lead to improved learning outcomes such as higher test scores.
A study published last month in the journal Pediatrics provides perhaps the strongest evidence yet to support the connection between exercise and improved cognitive performance in children.
The nine-month study of seven- to nine-year-old students found that regular after-school physical activity (a variety of active play in this case) led not only to physical fitness and weight loss, but also to significant improvements on tests measuring executive function.
The student participants out-performed a control group of children who didn’t participate in the exercise program on tests of their attentional inhibition and cognitive flexibility, meaning they were better able to focus their attention and not get distracted from their tasks and able to switch between cognitive tasks.
The study concluded that there was a causal effect of physical activity enhancing cognitive performance and brain functioning.
Fast Company also recently published an article about a school district in North Carolina that has implemented a Read and Ride program that has children read books as they ride exercise bikes. When the school analyzed the data they found that the students who biked the most in the program earned at 83% proficiency in reading, compared to just 41% proficiency for those with the least time in the program.
So, after your child completes a lesson on ABCmouse.com, reward him or her with some active playtime. It’s good for developing young bodies and minds.
Not sure how to get your kids moving? Bright Futures, a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics, offers some helpful parental guidelines for promoting physical activity for children of different ages.