Want to think better? Grab some blocks!
Some students will return to the classroom this year. Others are staying home to learn. Still others are participating in a hybrid approach — a mix of in-person and at-home schooling.
Whatever learning environment you find yourself in: don’t sit still. If you want to learn, you must move.
This advice tends to run contrary to what students are often told. Sit still. Stop fidgeting. Focus on the screen.
Sitting still for hours on end is no way to live, much less to learn. That’s because we learn best when we move. Consider these three timeless mind/body learning classics:
- While listening to a lecture, doodle or write. Or knit. Or model with clay.
- As you think about a tough problem, bounce a ball. Or take a walk or run.
- Listening to the news? Chop some vegetables or knead some bread.
Fidgeting, wiggling, and wriggling are good for your brain. So is building with blocks, pressing items into clay, folding paper, or writing with crayons, pens, and pencils.
Manipulating a variety of objects is a great way to connect your body and brain with a bigger world. Even if you do it absently: touching, twirling, or stacking objects can help you focus as you think about something else.
That’s because your body plays a huge role in deep thinking. By interacting with objects, you open up your mind for learning. We grasp concrete objects before we make the leap to grasping heady, abstract concepts like numbers and words.
Our brains take in information from our bodies. Keep giving your body objects to manipulate, so that your brain has something to think about.
Of course, your Uncle Goose is fond of stacking, sorting, and building with blocks. Or pushing our Planet Rollers.
But what other objects do you have AT HAND to help you think, move, and learn more deeply? And what are you doing with your hands and body right now?