Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fit Bodies = Fit Minds

Fidgety bodies make for closed minds.  The vestibular system needs to be activated to learn.  (This is why Debbie Clement has those  Wobble Seats everyone!

• Swinging, rocking, vestibular activity is related to the highest level of thinking. (Joan Firestone)

 • What makes us move makes us think.  Movement builds the framework for cognition & brain development. (Jean Blaydes-Madigan)• Combining language with movement increases cognition 90%. (Pat Wolfe)
                    And what is the best partner to all of this?  You know the answer.
Classroom teachers.  I know.  You are frustrated.  You say "We are not allowed" an awful lot.  How frustrating that must be!  Let me offer some suggestions on how to integrate music and movement into the day without disruption.

Many schools are now beginning their days with Brain Gym or Yoga type exercises.  And, they are seeing HUGE improvements.   Recently, I released a CD I worked on with Tere Bowen Irish, a well-respected OT.  It is called My Mindful Music

Children and teachers alike are enjoying the activities that help refocus our tired or disrupted minds.  Or, re-energize our minds when we just don't want to do any more!!!!

Here are a couple of activities :
 Stretchy Bands are a great
tool for teamwork and working our muscles.  Just ask Carole Stephens!  She has a lot of ideas for these.

 StretchyBand Songs I use.

The first song is VERY easy.

"Who can pull the stretchy band?"  Children answer "We can" while taking 2 steps back
Follow the words
"Pull it out, pull it out. Pull and pull and pull.  Now, walk the stretchy band back in"
Take four steps out - 1, 2, 3, 4.  Take four steps in - 1, 2, 3, 4
Like I said, easy.

Sometimes, it's just good to breath.  Every time I do this in a workshop, the teachers are so quiet afterward and say "That feels so good."
Close your eyes.  Put your hands over your belly button and relax.
Breath in.  Hold it.  Release the air while saying "SHHHHH"
You do not need the song to do this activity.  Put on some quiet, instrumental music (preferably new age or binaural music).  

Taking 5 minutes here and there will benefit you and your children.  It will put tools in place for how to self regulate.  And, it will get the brain ready to move onto the next task which will be learned more easily and retained longer.

Visit my Daily Brain Facts on Facebook   Make music and movement an important part of every day.  Please leave comments on what you are doing in your classrooms to get everyone moving.  I LOVE hearing from you!


  1. What great ideas! Thank you for giving teachers practical ways to refocus our students. I can't wait to try these with my students.

  2. Thank you, Angie. Let me know about the results

  3. Great ideas! Sometimes it's easy to forget that centering and breathing is as important as moving!

    1. Miss Mar. is talented and love our families. Her songs provide a fun way to teach the whole child through music and movement! We thank you, Mar., for providing us with your ideas to implement within our classrooms! Your lyrics give us a vehicle to connect with our children and ignite conversation too:)

  4. My daughter has brain breaks at her school that gets them up and moving out of their chair and the teacher can see a difference if she has to skip it for the day! This is why I love Music with Mar. classes! The activities are focused towards the attention spans of kids under 5 so they can keep absorbing the great information through music. The music keeps them learning and moving!!

  5. I LOVE the stretchy band. Great suggestion for school teachers. It's so unfortunate that they aren't encouraged to do more to help kids get out excess energy so they can focus. Thanks for sharing these awesome tools!

  6. Yes! Kids need to move to learn. Thanks for ideas and encouragement!

  7. I agree that movement promotes language production. As a Speech Therapist, I've teamed up with Physical Therapists for that very reason. Great ideas for the classroom. Let's get kids moving AND learning! Love it!

  8. This is a great article Mar! Good for all parents and teachers to keep in mind and great for adults to remember

  9. Great for adults to remember for themselves too I meant to say!

  10. So wish there were more people educated in these important concepts that would bring them into more schools as not just acceptable, but essential!

  11. I've used the stretchy band songs in my PreK 4 class and I can't even tell you how much they love it. They literally CLAMOR for it! I also have incorporated the Ah! Breathe. Into my routine and send them back to their classrooms relaxed and focused. I've seen a huge improvement. They used to bounce out of my class like jumping beans. Now they calmly wave and blow kisses. Thank you for these awesome songs!

  12. Here is more evidence to support this from Jean Blaydes Madigan and GEO Motion TV


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