With time and contemporary education the focus on body movements diminished yet the desire to make mind more productive increased by leaps and bounds. Are body and mind two separate entities or mind is part of the body?
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I – the Body (Kinesthetic intelligence), was much sought after. Warriors depended on me; craftsmen used me to create articles of utility and beauty; dancers and dramatists added depth to culture; sport was the primary profession/ pastime, and many professions used hands dexterously to achieve and to perform. A lot of education was about developing my presence in each child. I was valued because people believed in the magic of movements of hands and body. I was popular because people could create and perform with me. I was important because like other intelligences, my role was natural for a balanced human development.
But I am now losing importance. Hands do not create these days, machines do. People, especially educators and parents, are forgetting that for children ‘making’ things with their hands is fundamental to their mind’s development, that body movements and body – mind coordination are intrinsic to learning, that it is time to ‘welcome’ me back in the child’s life.
Also, people when faced with a brain that does not perform how they want – resort to more brain activities. May I suggest in many cases, the body – especially hands and legs might be the key to unlock the mind’s potential.
What I, the Body (Kinesthetic intelligence) would recommend is that all children (and adults alike) should do some activities out of each of the five categories below. More variety, better for the child:
Gross motor Activities – Playing field sports like football, basketball, badminton, tennis etc. Individual body skills like Park equipment play, Martial Arts, Swimming, Gymnastics, Hula Hoop, Trampoline, Slackline etc. Include also daily household works like washing clothes using hands, washing utensils, brooming and mopping floors etc. Include body development via Running, Aerobics, Yoga, Various ‘core’ workouts and yes Gym workouts (which fortunately can be done easily at home without any special equipment).
Fine Motor activities – drawing, sketching, needlework of any kind (embroidery, crochet, knitting), clay modelling / pottery, wood carving, carpentry, origami etc. Include fine motor kitchen activities like peeling, chopping etc. and household chores.
Coordination activities like hand Juggling, football juggling, wall practicing (using cricket, tennis, table tennis racket and ball), Balancing activities etc.
Whole brain or Brain Gym activities. Add the simple way of using the other hand (left for right handers) for regular stuff like writing, drawing, eating, brushing etc. Also include bare-feet walking in parks and lawns.
Expressive activities like Theater (mime, mono-acting, improv theater, body theater, etc.), dancing, large black board or canvas Painting, etc.
If you have a healthy mix of all the five categories, and within each category a wide exposure at different times of child’s development – then you have what I would like to call as inside-out development of the mind!
A 12 yrs old child came to Aarohi for a month and announced himself clumsy. Others also labelled him so. He would drop things, mess up food and not able to wash things properly. We asked him to use both the hands and he was insistent ‘left-hand does not work’. We insisted on using both the hands. We shared with him about the connection between his body and mind and suggested few activities like washing his clothes (with squeezing), juggling using three balls, use left hand to write and draw, do more sketching, stitching, washing his own utensils, folding his clothes, brooming and mopping, paper origami, football, running, etc. First, we had to take out of his mind that he is not clumsy. Second, we had to make him use his body more and that’s all! We’re not claiming any magical results here – we are simply illustrating how sometimes the bodily kinesthetic push, pushes the whole brain in different ways.
See his journey on HulaHoop here:https://youtu.be/U9Qu3Y5reWE