Physical activity and the notion of play are essential for early childhood development, as they promote social, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. Physical activities enhance cognitive and brain development and help enhance future academic success and school readiness in children.
Additionally, physical activity improves cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, cardiometabolic health, insulin resistance, blood pressure, dyslipidemia, glucose levels, and bone health. The benefits also reflect better cognition and mental health as children who participate in physical activities and social play have improved academic performance and lower symptoms of depression and stress.
Mindnasium’s enrichment centre for kids in Nassau County provides children with physical activity and play opportunities vital for their physical, psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. From the two-tier jungle gym to puzzles, these activities are aimed at fostering academic success, school readiness, and real-world skill development to overcome obstacles.
The Two-Tier Jungle Gym
The jungle gym first originated in the 1920s to facilitate physical exercise for children. The initial variant used wooden poles and bars to construct a structure that facilitated climbing, hanging, and swinging activities. It has evolved to add new sections such as tunnels, slides, and climbing walls.
A two-tier jungle gym engages various muscles and stimulates cognitive and brain functions in children through its diverse physical activities. Climbing ropes, ladders and monkey bars engage the upper body muscles, including arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back. Hanging, balancing, and navigating through different parts of the jungle gym develop core strength muscles, including abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles that help maintain stability and balance.
Manoeuvring through the jungle gym using climbing, balancing, and swinging involves problem-solving skills as children assess the structure, plan their movements, and decide to complete the obstacles without injury. Likewise, it also aids in developing fine motor skills, risk awareness, adaptability, and creativity in children. Using imaginative scenarios such as the captain’s ship, space exploration, and natural adventure activates cognition and spatial awareness as children process sensory information and spatial orientation.
Mindnasium’s two-tier jungle gym activities incorporate wellbeing philosophies and guidelines approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends daily physical activities for children aged three through five years, while children aged six through adolescents should participate in moderate to intensive sixty-minute daily physical activities. Being physically active by playing outdoors and in nature can help children meet developmental milestones, develop strong muscles and reduce nearsightedness by spending more time in sunlight. Using imaginative play such as obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, structural challenges and role-playing leads to a healthy mind and improves agility, teamwork, coordination, sense of accomplishment and storytelling skills.
Interactive Puzzles and Games
Simple jigsaw puzzles and interactive games help develop perseverance, eye coordination, and finger strength. As children slide, flip, wriggle, and turn pieces, they develop small muscle control while the ability to plan, solve imaginative tests, and remember shapes and colours develop memory skills.
Mindnasium provides children with brain teasers, riddles, strategy games, logic tests, and building blocks that give the children the opportunity to think out of the box and use logical reasoning to make strategic decisions. The enrichment classes for kids use traditional jigsaw puzzles, logic games like Scrabble, chess, Dungeons and Dragons, Sudoku, Risk, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Rubic’s Cube, and UNO to develop strategic decision-making and resource management skills.
Block sets such as LEGO, K’NEX sets, Magna Tiles, and games like Minecraft introduce children to multiple possibilities. Using different blocks and shapes is vital in helping children understand numerical and psychological patterns, while building large and dynamic structures through construction sets promotes motor skills, understanding of consequences, cause and effect, and creativity.
The interactive STEM camps by Mindasium also include the use of a jungle gym, puzzles and other interactive games that promote holistic child development. Children create shapes and objects while using painting and colouring to improve their creativity and imaginative play skills. These engaging exercises promote cognitive growth via puzzle-solving challenges and encourage physical fitness and spatial understanding through dynamic play on the jungle gym.
As children engage in physical activity and play, they develop neurological foundations that enable the brain to receive information and aid the brain’s activation process. These activities of the two-tier jungle gym, puzzles, and participation in STEM camps create a comprehensive developmental experience, fostering problem-solving skills, creativity and spatial awareness.