Tag Archives: growth mindset

Benefits of a Climbing Wall

Climbing Wall

Increasingly, science is uncovering the value of one of the most fundamental forms of movement – climbing. Kids and adults don’t just love climbing for the challenge – there are developmental reasons that attract kids to it. Climbing actually plays a role in children’s mental and physical development. In addition to all the physical benefits, it has been shown to improve creativity, memory, and critical thinking abilities.

Here are a few benefits of a climbing wall:

  • A climbing wall enhances problem-solving and decision-making skills. Ascending a climbing route is like putting together a puzzle. Each move requires a decision-making process. Where do I go? What is the best route to get there? Learning to solve problems and think for yourself in the moment (without the help of a glossary or google) is part of learning to make smart decisions, which is a skill set that helps kids in everyday situations.
  • It provides sensory input and improves memory. Psychologists from the University of North Florida found that “proprioceptively dynamic activities like climbing” can significantly improve executive functioning, especially memory. Executive function is important not just for cognitive processing of information, but for behavioral regulation. The study showed that two hours after climbing, participants’ capacity for working memory had increased by 50 percent. WOW!
  • Climbing develops spatial awareness and motor skills.  Not only does climbing build spatial and directional awareness, but it also boosts physical skills such as balance, hand and foot coordination, and agility.  When children use both their hands and feet to maneuver varying inclines and distances between climbing holds, it enhances children’s proprioception, the ability to sense one’s own body’s position and movement in space.
  • It promotes healthy choices and a growth mindset.  Overcoming challenges and fear is fundamental to being successful.  Encouraging kids to leave their comfort zone, keep trying in the face of failure, and to face their fears helps them to see challenges as opportunities to grow.  Challenging situations teach children to believe in themselves. 
  • Climbing develops focus and concentration. Climbing requires attention to task, focus, and discipline to succeed. There is no multitasking when you’re balanced on a narrow foothold trying to find the best route to the top of the wall. No matter what is going on around them, children must stay present and mindful when climbing, by focusing their attention on their hand and footholds.  This builds the mind-body connection (how the movement of the body affects the development of the brain).
  • Climbing is fun. Kids love a good physical and mental challenge.  If you throw in a fun bell to ring when they reach the top they may never leave…
Growth Mindset

Climbing a wall or aerial yoga hammock is a challenge. It promotes agility, flexibility, muscular strength and muscular endurance. We change the hand and foot hold patterns on our climbing wall, which adds a cognitive challenge. The cognitive challenge enhances executive function and builds a growth mindset making it a wonderful addition to our amazing Mindful Child Aerial Yoga Classes. 

References

Alloway, R. G., & Alloway, T. P. (2015). The Working Memory Benefits of Proprioceptively Demanding Training: A Pilot Study. Perceptual and Motor Skills120(3), 766–775. https://doi.org/10.2466/22.PMS.120v18x1

Emami Kashfi, T., Sohrabi, M., Saberi Kakhki, A., Mashhadi, A., & Jabbari Nooghabi, M. (2019). Effects of a Motor Intervention Program on Motor Skills and Executive Functions in Children With Learning Disabilities. Perceptual and Motor Skills126(3), 477–498. https://doi.org/10.1177/0031512519836811

Growth Mindset Game

Teaching kids to have a growth mindset can be tricky.  After all just telling kids to have a growth mindset usually doesn’t work. Instead, teach them that the brain is a muscle that can get stronger and change with challenging tasks.   Emphasize the importance of hard work and problem-solving.

Games are a great way to teach tricky concepts to kids.  Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset adds yoga and a mindset twist on a classic game, Red Light, Green Light.  Before you begin the game, provide an explanation of a fixed and growth mindset.  A fixed mindset avoids challenges and assumes that abilities are fixed, frozen or unchanging.  A growth mindset enjoys a challenge and sees failures as a way to learn and grow. 

How to Play the Growth Mindset Game

Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset is best played with four or more players, ages six and older. The leader stands at the front of the room.  When she says, “Growth Mindset” players slowly move and grow toward the leader. When she says, “Fixed Mindset” players freeze in place in a yoga pose. The yoga pose can be predetermined by the leader or freestyle where players choose their own. The player who makes it to the leader first is the winner.

What are the Benefits?

Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset builds executive function through play. Executive function plays a fundamental role in emotion regulation and impulse control. It helps kids reflect before they react. The growth mindset game also provides yoga pose review and enhances focus.

In summary, games are a great way to build self-regulation skills. For more movement ideas to support your child’s social and emotional development sign up for an aerial yoga class or our Mindful Child Teacher Training.

Shift Your Perspective With Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations help children to think positively and believe in themselves.

Materials

Affirmation coloring book or coloring page
Colors, colored pencils or markers
Ambient music

What is Positive Affirmation Coloring?

Positive Affirmation Coloring is a simply buying or downloading an affirmation coloring book and coloring with your child. These can be purchased inexpensively online at Etsy or at local bookstores. Coloring can have therapeutic benefits and be a fantastic mindful activity for children. When coloring is combined with the mood-changing powers of positive affirmations it doubles the calming effects.

What are the benefits of affirmation coloring?

Coloring books with positive affirmations are uplifting and can shift your child’s perspective, creating a positive mindset. Coloring coupled with ambient relaxing music can help your child de-stress and relax.

What do I say?

Let’s sit up tall and practice mindful listening before we begin. While we listen to the relaxing music we are going to color an affirmation page. Affirmations are short positive phrases that focus on what you want out of life. I’m going to pass around the coloring book and I want you to pick an affirmation that means something to you. Tear out that page. As you color, breathe in and out through your nose. Think about the words printed on the page. Say the words in your head as you color. Notice how you feel.

If you are wanting more ways to include positive affirmations in your child’s day or even a children’s yoga class, buy my book, Mindfulness for Children, it is full of simple activities to enhance positivity and mindfulness in children.

Growth Mindset

WHAT IS GROWTH MINDSET?

Carol Dweck is a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist who has spent over 30-years researching growth mindset.  Dr. Dweck reports growth mindset is the understanding that we can develop our abilities and intelligence.

WHY DOES MINDSET MATTER?

Dr. Dweck found that a child’s mindset about his or her own intelligence has a significant impact on their effort, motivation, and approach to challenges.  Those who believe their abilities are flexible are more likely to take on challenges and not give up despite failure.

WHY PRAISE SHOULD BE INTENTIONAL?

 Teachers and parents need to use specific praise that focuses on children’s effort, concentration, and strategies.  For example, next time your child gets a good grade in a class for which you know he or she studied hard, praise them for their effort and suggest they enroll in a harder class next semester.  The key is to be specific about the praise you give. Do not praise intelligence, but effort.

WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SHOW?

The feedback we give children can impact their mindsets in unexpected ways. For instance, praise for intelligence, such as “You’re so smart!” is thought to be motivating and good for children.  However, research shows that it has a negative effect on student motivation and/or achievement. Researchers, Dweck and Mueller divided fifth grade students into two groups and had them work on a puzzle task. One group, after accomplishing the task, was praised for their intelligence and ability.

The other group, also after accomplishing the task, was praised for their effort, rather than intelligence. When this easy task became harder, the groups responded to the challenge in very diverse ways. Children praised for intelligence chose to continue working on the easier puzzles, while students praised for effort decided to progress to more challenging puzzles. The effort-praised group sought out more challenging tasks and reported learning goals as most motivating. The intelligence-praised group avoided challenge in favor of ensured success, and cited performance or “looking smart” as their goal. Therefore, praise for intelligence resulted in reduced persistence, reduced enjoyment, and worse performance than praise for effort. Students who are praised for high ability attribute their success to a fixed or unchangeable quality of themselves (innate intelligence), while students praised for effort realize their performance is subject to improvement, which is growth mindset.

References

 Dweck, C.S. & Mueller, C.M. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (75), 33-52.

Dweck, C.S. & Leggett, E.L. (1988). A Social-Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality, Psychological Review 95, (2), 256-273.