Spin, Swing, Climb & Slide! is a podcast worth the listen. They talk about the importance of childhood play in a person’s development.
For example, they talked about the importance of spinning around. When children do so, it helps them develop their vestibular system and its integration with the nervous system, which, they say, is important for attention and control. Children need to do things like spin on a merry-go-round. Spinning children in circles is something that occupational therapists do to help some children. Teachers today, they say, notice an increase in children running into and bumping into each other and in falling down. They think it’s because the vestibular system is not developed.
The description for the podcast says:
Thank you to Angela Hanscom, creator of TimberNook, for an informative conversation about how changes in playground equipment and recess are impacting kid’s learning and development.
Angela, an pediatric occupational therapist, is an outspoken advocate for the importance of getting kids moving in the outdoors and learning through play. Her writing on these topics has been featured in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the NPR Education Blog, among others.
TimberNook is an award winning nature-based developmental program for children that fosters creativity, imagination, and independent play in the outdoors. Check out Angela’s blog post about playgrounds – Bring Back the Merry-Go-Round!
© 2016 Mind and Body in Motion
The podcast is also available on iTunes. It’s “49-Spin, Swing, Climb & Slide!; Released May 20, 2015; Susan Chandler talks with Angela Hanscom, pediatric occupational therapist, creator of TimberNook camps, and an outspoken advocate for the importance of getting kids moving in the outdoors and learning through play, about how changes in playground equipment and recess are impacting kid’s learning and development.”
A relevant blog post is “How Rocking, Spinning, and Swinging Your Kids Helps Them Pay Attention” in which Montessori teacher Shelly Birger Phillips says:
When I worked in Montessori schools, we’d often use this tool to help our most active kids settle in to their work. If we noticed someone wandering around, bothering other kids, and unable to decide what activity to choose- we’d just send him or her out to the swings for five minutes.
After a few minutes of swinging, the child would almost magically come back into the classroom, decide on an activity, sit down and really concentrate for a half an hour or more! I sometimes couldn’t believe it was the same kid.
And in “The Vestibular System,” Jill, a pediatric occupational therapist, points out that, when the vestibular system is activated, it makes sense for the brain to be activated, since vestibular activation signifies movement: a situation in which we’d better be paying attention!
Showing, again, how science — integrated, inductive knowledge of cause-effect relationships — is important to human life.
I an interested to see what more we might learn in this area in the near future, what ideas we might change and what ideas we might develop or refine.