How Yo-Yoing Can Help Build Key Brain Skills Youth Need for Life
Childhood is a critical time for brain development. From the moment a child is born, they begin making connections that develop their brain. From behavior, awareness, and self-control to focus, these are just some of the essential skills that need developing. These connections are key to a child’s emotional health and ultimately their future.
In addition to emotional brain development, your child also needs to develop overall gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are those used to move daily functions like walking, jumping, and throwing a ball. They use the large muscle groups. Fine motor skills refer to the coordination of the small muscles in your hands with your eyes. For example, eating, getting dressed, writing, and picking up small objects.
Setting time aside for a child to play is important in developing the brain for the above reasons. To help build gross and fine motor skills introduce engaging activities. Activities can be as simple as throwing a ball or frisbee to more challenging activities like juggling, yo-yoing, or learning to play an instrument.
So why and how are activities like yo-yoing and juggling instrumental in building the above skills? We have compiled a list of 10 specific skills a child can build by playing with a yo-yo that answers this exact question!
- Develops hand-eye coordination
- Promotes bilateral integration (The ability to use both sides of your body together in a controlled manner)
- Expands crossing mid-line function (The ability to reach across the middle of the body with the arms and legs crossing over to the opposite side.)
- Builds hand finger strength
- Helps teach hand division
- Develops hand dominance and/or ambidexterity
- Improves spatial awareness
- Builds concentration
- Teaches determination
- Plus, it is a positive activity that a child can carry in their pocket that may help fight overeating, anxiety, or nervousness!!
“Playing with a yo-yo throughout my childhood has helped me in numerous areas in my life. I excelled in school because of a high level of focus and determination that I gained from daily yo-yo practice. It also helped me develop the ability to problem-solve, multi-task, and excel in any physical activity that involves coordination. Check this video out of me in action with two yo-yos to see what I mean,” said Jennifer Baybrook, a former World Champion.
Since the idea of playing with a yo-yo is probably bringing out your inner child, we encourage you to pick one up too! As an adult you can also improve your fine motor skills like hand-dexterity, hand division, strength, and mental benefits like memory.
About the Author
Jennifer Baybrook, a World Yo-Yo Champion and our youth program presenter has performed and presented Yo-Yo programs in 32 states and throughout 15 countries. Born and raised in a small town in Vermont, Jennifer’s professional yo-yo career began at the age of only eight. Through years of regular practice, determination and passion for excellence, Jennifer was quick to rise to be one of the top yo-yo professionals and was recognized by both the Vermont State Senate and Hawaii State Senate for being a positive role model to youth.
At the age of 17, she was the first girl to win the World Yo-Yo Championship title and since has been featured as a special guest on various television shows and other venues including Good Morning America, Fox Kids, Euro Disney & Universal Studios.