Have you ever watched your child spin on a swing and felt a little queasy? It’s not a motion adults like but it’s crucial for young children. They spin because their bodies crave that specific stimulation. They also crave the feeling of rolling, being upside down, and tumbling. These motions help their bodies to organize and function.
Our sensory systems, (the vestibular, proprioceptive, auditory and visual senses) work together to take in information and shape the brain’s network. The more the input is repeated, the strong the connection is made. Our circle swing in the South Yard is the perfect vehicle for this stimulus.
“Spinning in circles is one of the best activities to help children gain a good sense of body awareness. Through spinning they figure out where their “center” is and then are more able to coordinate movement on the two sides of the body.
Rather than making children susceptible to falls, spinning actually improves a child’s surefootedness, and it also improves their ability to concentrate in the classroom.
According to Kawar, Frick, and Frick (2005), the centrifugal force experienced on things like merry-go-rounds activates the fluid-filled cavities in the inner ear. These sensors tell the brain the orientation of the head which develops grounding and sustaining attention to task.
The vestibular system controls a person’s balance, posture, gaze stabilization, and spatial orientation. It also impacts impulse control (Angelaki and Dickman 2017). This nerve development is necessary for future tasks like following lines of text across a page (White 2013).” (Penn State Extension, Better Kid Care) For more information, follow this link to the original article.
*Schemas are universal repeated patterns of behavior children use to explore and learn about their environment. Examples are enveloping – hiding under blankets or covering themselves in sand, transporting – carrying around objects from place to place, and trajectory – constructing buildings then knocking them down.