Exercises to help children with learning difficulties

Meagan Forsgren from ILS Learning shares exercises you can do to stimulate the brain and improve learning in children with ADHD, Dyslexia, and other learning difficulties.

Exercises for Anchoring Sight Words through Kinesthetic Movement and Sensory Play

Squat Jumps: Tape several sight words along a blank wall above the child`s reach. Have the child squat, say the word and jump to grab it. The child must say the word correctly before they grab it. This activity encourages the child to commit the word to their visual memory by looking upward so they can retrieve it later in school. If sight words are a problem for your child, anchor them with this type of movement.

Step Claps with Cross Over: Hold the sight words above your child`s head and ask them to step-clap back and forth switching arms and legs while they say the sight words (cross one leg over the other). This exercise engages both the left and right sides of the brain to help commit the words to memory.

'Driving' Letters: Create sight words that look like a road on a piece of paper. Have your child take a toy car and follow the road with their car (tracing each letter of the sight word). Ask your child to say the word before and after they begin the activity. This activity helps the child`s phonemic awareness and develops the child`s visual-spatial skills needed to help them understand correct spacing of words and letters across the page for reading and writing.

Whip Cream Letter Writing: Spread whip cream over a cookie sheet or flat surface. Call out a sight word and have the child write the word with their finger in the whip cream. Ask them to erase the word with their hand and start over. This activity incorporates the child`s tactile learning through their senses and forces them to use their auditory (hearing) to remember and write the word from memory. The child`s processing speed will also improve as they get faster.

Toothpaste Spelling: On a cookie sheet or flat surface, call out a sight word and have your child spell the word with the toothpaste. The child will squeeze out the toothpaste to spell the word. Ask the child to call it out once they have spelled it. This activity also improves the child`s fine motor skills and proprioception for writing development and pencil grip.

Play Dough and Legos: Have the child spell out sight words using play dough and Legos. Encourage the child to spell the word first and say it out loud. Eventually, you want that child to call the letters out instead of sounding them out. This activity helps the child`s tactile system and visual system develop.