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Brain Benefits of Sensory Motor Groups

Brain Benefits of Sensory Motor Groups

Brain Benefits of Sensory Motor Groups

Do you provide group therapy sessions?  Is it ever a struggle for children to participate?  Do you find that some children have the motor skills when playing alone but then have difficulties when they start playing in a group game?  Participating in sensory-motor group games requires additional executive functions than playing alone.  Sensory-motor groups add on another level of cognitive load i.e. impulse control, higher motor planning, self-regulation, etc.  Providing group therapy sessions or offering additional opportunities for group motor play (i.e. recess, physical education or in class games) may help with executive functions, coordination skills and higher level motor tasks.

Here are 3 evidence based reasons to support brain benefits of sensory-motor groups:

Participation in group motor skill games and complex motor tasks may possibly induce neurogenesis in the hippocampus and physiological changes in the cerebellum.

Skills acquired during complex motor tasks and cognitively demanding group games may transfer to executive functions.

There is a close interrelationship between motor control and executive functions such as:

  • the co-activation between the prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, and the basal ganglia during several motor and cognitive tasks
  • both having a similar developmental timetable.
  • both skills requiring sequencing, monitoring, and planning.

Research indicates that increasing the mental engagement in physical activity by adding coordination and cognitive demands result in superior effects on executive functions when compared to physical activities without increased cognitive loads.

Reference:  Aadland, K. N., Moe, V. F., Aadland, E., Anderssen, S. A., Resaland, G. K., & Ommundsen, Y. (2017). Relationships between physical activity, sedentary time, aerobic fitness, motor skills and executive function and academic performance in children. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 12, 10-18.

Read Tips for Successful Pediatric Group Therapy Sessions.

Here are 3 resources for sensory-motor groups to encourage movement and learning:

The ABC's of Movement

The ABC’s of Movement®- Combine Movement with Literacy  – The ABC’s of Movement® is a pdf document of educational flash cards that combine movement with literacy development. Kids love these colorful flash cards that merge learning the alphabet with twenty six fun, noncompetitive movement activities. Designed for children of all abilities from preschool through 2nd grade, these flash cards were developed by a physical therapist with learning and physical development in mind. Ideal for home and school use. These bright, bold letters and full color photographs of children make learning easy and fun!

Movement Flashcards

Movement Flashcards – Movement Flashcards digital download includes 10 aerobic exercises with flash cards templates. Students can get physical activity while reviewing material. The 10 aerobic activities include: run in place, jumping, hopping, squats, lunges, skipping, twists, cross crawls, jumping jacks and marching. Each page includes a picture image of the aerobic exercise along with a blank template to type in 18 flash cards. You choose what to work on for academic material.

Cardio Skip Counting digital download includes 3 videos and worksheets to get moving and working out while practicing skip counting by 2s, 5s and 10s to 100. Each video takes the students through skip counting while performing different aerobic exercises such as marching in place, running in place, cross crawls, trunk twists, lunges, squats and more! All you have to do is open the Powerpoint Presentation or the video files and select the movie you want to play. The worksheets include number writing practice and an aerobic activity. The students have to write in the missing numbers and then perform an exercise while counting to 100 by 2s, 5s or 10s.

Brain Benefits of Sensory Motor Groups