We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
There is no better way to SYNC body and brain than through play. The very act of playing integrates thought and action in an enjoyable way and if you are having fun, you will want to do it again.
Play enriches your environment and stimulates brain activity. Play encourages new neural pathways. It is an instinctive way for the brain to recreate itself and make new connections between neurons and different areas of the brain.
Play stimulates the imagination. Play allows us to experiment with movement and cognitive combinations that we might not ordinarily use in real life. For a stroke or brain injury survivor, the freedom to use the imagination to connect movement with thought lets you explore what works in this new world.
• Bounce it and catch it.
• Bounce it off your knee and catch it (You can do this in your chair.)
• Lift your knee, bounce it under your leg.
• Take it with you on a walk and bounce and catch as you go.
• Walk with a friend and bounce or toss your balls to each other as you walk.
• Try walking backwards as you bounce or toss your ball.
• Stand on one foot and toss the ball in the air and catch it.
Play with friends
Instead of simply sitting and talking with friends and family, PLAY with them!
• Hitting a beach ball (or two) around while discussing life’s ups and downs changes your perspective.
• Play Pat-a-Cake with a friend.
• Work as a group to design a new game.
• Take a trip to the toy or dollar store and choose some items to play with. Be creative – let your imagination take over. Creating the game structure and rules is great brain activity.
• Compete and cooperate.
Go to the park
• Slide down the sliding board.
• Swing on the swings.
• Make up challenges for yourself.
• Play in the sand.
• Recite and act out nursery rhymes as you play.
Go on a scavenger hunt
• Design a scavenger hunt in your house or neighborhood.
• Say the names of things you find out loud.
• Tell others what you found.
• Test yourself by remembering and spelling the items.
Talk to yourself!