Besides keeping healthy and staying fit, we need to have a fit brain. Many studies have shown that in order to avoid Alzheimer’s disease when we are older, it’s important to keep our brains active now. One way teachers are accomplishing this is by having students “exercise” their brains via various classroom activities. This can be done by using our imaginations, trying new things, and exercising our memories. Here are a few suggestions and classroom activities that will encourage students to exercise their brains and keep them fit.
A fun way to keep our brain fit is to try something new. When we try something new, it forces our brain to do something it doesn’t normally do. Here are a few ideas.
- Ask students to go along with their normal day, but they must walk backwards everywhere that they go.
- Give students a tongue twister and have them practice reading it aloud. Here are a few good ones: “Of all the ties, I ever tied, I never tied, a tie like this tie ties.” “Swan, swim over the sea, Swim, swan, swim! Swan, swim back again. Well swum, swan!” Once the students get the hang of it, have them try to write their own tongue twister.
- Bring in a bunch of different foods that you think students may have not tried before. Be careful to find food that students would not be allergic to. Encourage them to choose a food that they have never eaten from the choices that you have brought in.
- Ask all of the left-handed students to only raise their right hand for the day, and all of your right-handed students to only raise their left hand for the day.
Use Your Imagination
Using your imagination is a great way to stimulate your brain. It’s like a muscle, the more you use it the better it gets. Here are a few suggestions to get your students to use their imagination and be creative.
- Supply your students with a bunch of craft supplies: Crayons, markers, buttons, yarn, glue, toothpicks, beads, cotton balls, etc. Then, give them a baked potato and ask them to use their imagination and create an animal out of a potato.
- Ask students to choose an animal. Once they have chosen their animal, they must use their imagination and bodies to make that animal come alive. What does their facial expression look like? How do their arms move? How do their legs move? What do they sound like?
- Have students pretend that they just won $1 million. They must use their imagination and write down all of the things they will do with the money that they just won. Encourage them to be creative and illustrate a few pictures too.
Exercise Your Memory
A great way to exercise your brain is to use your memory. There are countless memory exercises that students can do. Here are few easy ones to try out.
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- Without any warning or preparation, ask students to get up and go outside of the classroom. Once you get to the desired location, ask students to tell you who sits next to them, beside them, and behind them.
- Pair students together with a person in the class that they do not know very well. Each pair must answer five questions about themselves: Their birthday, favorite color, number of siblings, favorite food, and favorite sport. Next, they must regroup with a new partner and tell their new partner what they just learned about their previous partner.
- Partner students together and give each team a plate with 10-20 objects on it. Each team gets one minute to memorize all of the objects on the plate. When the time is up they must put a cloth over the objects and write down as many objects that they can remember on a piece of paper.
- Bring in a change of clothing and at lunchtime change your clothes, hairstyle, jewelry, etc. When you get back to the classroom after lunch see if the students notice anything different about you. If they do, then ask them to tell you in detail what you were wearing.
The human brain is very complex. Apart from protecting your brain from injury, you can teach your students to keep their brain fit by exercising and eating well, learning new things and trying to remember them, and getting plenty of sleep.
Do you have any fun ways to keep your students brains fit? Please share your ideas with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts! Hey, you never know, you just may inspire someone!
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.