School will start so very soon. The time goes fast, but as any parent whose kid is out of camp can attest: The days are long. If you’re up for a road trip, a new 16,000-foot play center, WeeZee World, recently opened in Chappaqua, New York. The founder, psychiatric nurse Louise ‘Weezee’ Weadock created a fun zone in her house years ago when her daughter Shannon was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder. (See Weezee at left.) It was such a success–for Shannon and the kids in their neighborhood–that Weadock decided to create a fun space where all kids exercise their senses. WeeZee World also focuses on children’s health and fitness.
Weadock would love for you to visit the center, but if you can’t make it, here are her tips for piquing your child’s senses at home. She says her ideas below will help kids’ minds stay sharp while getting them ready to go back to school:
- Watch an academic video or listen to a book on tape while doing a cooking activity with lemon, ginger and spearmint. These smells excite our senses, alert our awareness and enhance our ability to remember and make associations when the smell is present.
- Install small and large trampolines inside and outside of home. Bouncing rhythmically builds core muscles that encase the spinal cord, our body’s major carrier of messages. Enzymes released from joint compression also improves cognitive functioning by increasing our ability to absorb and retrieve information from our brain.
- Wake the kids up, ride in the car, do homework and go to bed listening to classical music–preferably Mozart. The music tickles the inner-ear, the most sensitive neuro-pathway to the brain and heightens the child’s ability to take in and understand larger quantities of information and then retrieve it. This tip improves memory and speed for many tasks like answering questions on tests, reacting quickly in sports and improving the ability to make associations.
- Temporary tattoo your child then have him rub it off in the shower or bath. Have your child use a brush or loofah mit. Tactile awareness is what gives a child an over-all sense of their self-in-space. It stimulates the neuro-receptors within the skin and heightens the child’s awareness alerting him of all spatial sensations around him.
- Set aside time once a week for Family Game Night. This shows your child how you approach learning a game you don’t know (if you have to read the instructions). Game Night also helps kids set goals, manage conflicts, learn to play by the rules, handle frustration and win graciously.