You know that exercise builds strong muscles and bones. But do you know that play for young children can boost their brains?

Increasingly researchers are finding that brain activity and development are linked to physical exercise. It now appears that movement stimulates brain growth and facilitates connections for learning.

Babies learn best when they are active. Physical activity is critical for healthy brain development in young ones as her brain receives important nutrients when your child is active. Physical exercise activates nerve cells in the brain and creates neural pathways that are fundamental to learning. That’s why babies learn best when they are naturally active. They exercise all the time as they creep and crawl.

Exercises release the happy hormones called endorphins, giving babies and toddlers an all round good feeling. Healthy, physically active children were also found to be academically motivated and alert in class in their school years. So get your child out of the cot or play pen and encourage what comes naturally to them: Play!

Play need not be organised or structured. When adults think of exercise, we imagine gym workouts and jogging. For babies and toddlers, exercise means playing and just being active. Dedicate a part of your home to play and create a child-safe zone, where your child can be active by simply crawling or walking about. If you do not have a space at home, find a play space near home, which can be a daily destination for your child to be physically active. Soon, getting some active play time would be become her instant mood-booster.

Strength And Flexibility

Even for babies and toddlers, aerobic exercises can some good. Simple activities like walking with your child in the park or to the shop can strengthen her. It’s easy to find things to do for flexibility. Create games that incorporate simple stretches like bending down to touch toes, side stretches, tumbling and baby yoga are motion activities that help young children become flexible.

Keep The Focus On Fun

However, always keep your child engaged in activities that are fun, but not beyond her abilities. If you are thinking of enrichment programmes, choose ones that are age-appropriate and focus on developing their interest. Don’t get carried away with structured programmes. Young children do better if they enjoy the activity. If the programme emphasises on strict deliverables over fun, then you need to think twice.

Be A Role Model

Make it a family activity and you will find that everyone benefits. Kids love to see their parents play. Even a basic ball game is thrilling for the young ones. Engage and get involved.