Enhancing Children's Cognition with Physical Activity Games


Use physical activity to boost learning and academic performance.

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There are proven scientific parallels between physical activity and cognitive development in adolescent students—this book highlights these links and helps educators understand how to best marry the two for positive growth and development in younger students. You’ll learn about the link, find examples of physical activities that foster cognitive development, and learn how to tailor games specific to your class to achieve positive results.

Linking Mind and Body

Adolescence is the prime stage of development for children, which means being able to capitalize on the link between physical activity and cognitive development. This text explores research and studies linking the two, helps educators put theory into practice, and provides the tools necessary to spur development amongst students in your charge. The book is designed to provide stepping stones from each phase of understanding to practice, so that teachers can best serve developing students.

Stimulating games and activities that require problem solving, decision making, communication, engagement, and more, all work to develop a student’s cognition. This mental growth is further reinforced in auxiliary studies and classroom learning, so that it solidifies a student’s development and continues to broaden their learning capabilities. The result is a student that is able to achieve superior cognitive abilities and who leads an active, engaging life.

Teachers referencing this text will be able to identify the cognitive demands of their students and be able to shape games and activities that serve to boost these traits.


This book is broken into 3 parts with 11 total chapters focusing on the link between physical activity and cognitive development in children. Part I grounds the proven research between physical activity and cognition. Part II helps educators translate research into practice within their own curricula. Part III offers samples and examples of games and activities that emphasize contextual inference, mental control, and discovery.

  • Preface
  • Foreword
  • Part I Physical Activity and Mental Development
    • Chapter 1 Understanding Children’s Mental Development
      • Mental Development
      • Skill and the Trajectory of Cognitive Development
      • Understanding Children’s Development From Multiple Points of View
      • Implications for Educators
    • Chapter 2 How Movement Influences Children’s Mental Development
      • Children’s Physical Activity
      • Physical Activity in Natural, Educational, and Recreational Settings
      • How Physical Activity and Exercise Enhance Children’s Cognition
      • How Physical Activity Benefits Children’s Cognition and Academics
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 3 How Movement Games Help Children Think and Learn
      • Learning
      • What Influences the Shape of the Learning Curve?
      • Mental Energy and Children’s Learning
      • Developmental Tasks and Readiness to Learn
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 4 Motivating Children to Learn by Playing
      • Motivation to Play Games
      • Challenge and Children’s Development
      • Creating a Motivational Climate for Learning and Enjoyment
      • Implication for Educators
  • Part II Translating Research to Practice
    • Chapter 5 Capitalizing on Physical Activity to Benefit Children’s Physical and Mental Health
      • How Physical Movements Create Mental Maps
      • Childhood Inactivity and Sedentary Behavior
      • Worldwide Trends in Childhood Obesity and Health
      • Children’s and Adolescents’ Mental Health
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 6 Engaging Children in Playful Learning
      • Children’s Mental Engagement
      • Three Principles of Instruction
      • Teaching for Engagement
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 7 Teaching Physical Activity Games for Cognitive Engagement
      • Who Are Physical Activity Teachers?
      • Skills Needed by Physical Activity Teachers
      • Selecting an Approach to Teaching
      • Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teaching Models
      • Considerations for Implementing Physical Activity Games Programs
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 8 How to Assess Children at Play
      • What Is Assessment and Why Do It?
      • Selecting the Right Indicators of Program Success
      • Indicators of Program Effectiveness
      • Approaches to and Sources of Data Collection
      • Individual Differences, Measurement, and Game Development
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 9 Integrating Physical Activity Games Into the Home and Community
      • Ecological Models
      • Applying Physical Activity Games to Ecological Models
      • 21st-Century Schools
      • Implication for Educators
  • Part III Creating Effective Physical Activity Games
    • Chapter 10 Physical Activity Games for Preschool- and Kindergarten-Age Children
      • Moving From Play to Games
      • Games That Challenge Executive Functions
      • Connecting Games for Preschool- and Kindergarten-Age Children to SHAPE America Standards
      • Games Highlighting Contextual Interference
      • Games Emphasizing Mental Control
      • Games Highlighting Discovery
      • Implication for Educators
    • Chapter 11 Physical Activity Games for Elementary School–Age Children
      • Games That Challenge Executive Functions
      • Connecting Games for Elementary School–Age Children to SHAPE America Standards
      • Games Highlighting Contextual Interference
      • Games Emphasizing Mental Control
      • Games Promoting Discovery
  • Implication for Educators References
  • Index
  • About the Author

Book is 256 pages.