Summer 2019: Here’s how your summer hobby can help you ace your school year
As much as vacations are a time to unwind and spend uninterrupted quality time with family and friends, they also offer an opportunity to students to sharpen their skills without the everyday pressure of school and academics. Strengthening one’s foundation and conceptual understanding during vacations can make the upcoming academic year a total breeze for students. But the idea of opening your textbooks and spending hours on it doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? Luckily for all of us, there is a way to do it without hampering the most important element of vacations - the fun - and it is through what we call ‘hobbies’!
Intelligence is not inherent and studies continue to confirm that people can increase their potential and general intelligence by the activities they indulge in. Through certain hobbies and techniques, we can spark our brain into building new neural pathways, allowing it to work faster and retain more information. Apart from cognitive and psychological benefits, hobbies are also a great source of eustress - helping students stay motivated to learn more and more!
Here’s a list of a few hobbies that can help students strengthen their fundamentals to prepare for the upcoming academic year:
Upskilling with music
Did you know that playing the guitar can help you strengthen your mathematics skills? The music theory is actually built on Math with different scales and chords. When we play musical instruments, the brain is stimulated in the corpus callosum, which is the part which links both hemispheres of the brain and creates new connections. Moreover, guitars have a lot of patterns - just like maths, which makes the learner comfortable with it, hence enhancing their mathematical skills. Children that learn music theory at a young age have also been seen to develop a greater reading comprehension than their peers.
Run for it
A healthy way to keep your mind as fit as your body is through regular exercise. With regular exercise, your cells are regularly exposed to BDNF, a protein released by the body during exercise that strengthens concentration, learning, memory, and focus. We specifically recommend running as it’s straightforward and has innumerable benefits! Studies show that running improves memory retention and makes the individual more alert. A quick run amidst the routine, just around your neighborhood, will boost your attention span and retention capacity.
Reading anything and everything
This may appear as an obvious thing to do – students read books all the time! But we are talking about non-academic reading. Developing reading as a habit is about ensuring that one reads a little everyday. Regular reading leads to a significant increase in connectivity in the left temporal cortex of the brain – an area associated with receptivity for language, according to a study from Emory University.
Recycling involves putting old, used materials to fresh use again. As beneficial as it is for the environment, it is equally advantageous for the recycler. As a hobby, recycling acts a medium for creative self-expression. This hobby improves many cognitive functions in the child, as it involves exploring various concepts and designs, sorting, categorizing, making patterns and arrangement etc. to arrive at the desired result. Actually seeing the benefits in your environment can also teach real-life applications of textbook theories.
Get crafty with Origami
The real art of origami goes beyond just paper kites and napkin folds. Researchers have found that students who indulge in origami perform better in Math! Origami enables study of topics like measurements, fractions and proportions and basic reasoning among others, all with just a few paper folds. No matter how one folds it, origami is a way to improve thinking skills, increase concentration levels and be more creative and constructive.
A hobby is all about engaging in new experiences and keeping an open mind. No matter how old you may be, you can still experience mental improvements from strumming the chords of a guitar or reading a fantasy novel. Do remember, the act of excelling a hobby in itself is not as important as the act of getting started with one!
(Author Anita Kishore is Teacher and Chief Strategy Officer, BYJU’S – The Learning App)