Wednesday, February 29

Playing With Yo-Yos Bolster Creativity and Mental Alertness

The traditional toys and children's games have already lost their appeal to the latest generations of kids who have grown up playing video games on Wii or Xbox. They also learned to depend on computers and mobile devices, such as smartphones, laptops and electronic tablets, when communicating with friends or family and when looking for easy answers to difficult questions raised during their classroom discussions. In effect, the new generation of kids currently fail at showing some resourcefulness and creativity in their studies. It seems the loss of traditional toys and games, like hopscotch and playing with yo yos, has a profound effect on our children's intellectual, emotional and social development.

Yo yos, in particular, may have a significant effect on a child's cognitive development according to Datuk Dr. Mat Saat Baki, a clinical psychologist based in Kuala Lumpur. He further explained that playing the yo yo uses both the left and right sides of the brain, specifically those areas mainly responsible for maintaining mental concentration, for managing eye-hand coordination, for processing creativity, and for developing manual dexterity. The left side of the brain is mostly responsible for semantics and rational thinking as well as other cognitive processes involving linear, sequential, and logical concepts. Meanwhile, the right side of the brain primarily serves as the center for creativity, intuition, and abstract thinking.

Like in playing chess, playing with yo yos develops the individual's ability to concentrate or focus on a task, such as performing the exact sequence of moves that will precisely leave the spinning yoyo head hanging within the central space inside a pyramid-shaped frame made by looping and stretching segments of the yo yo string. An enhanced ability to focus one's attention and concentrate all of one's thoughts into a singular task is a major advantage. These people most likely excel at their jobs or in their studies because they pay more attention to details and possess deeper knowledge of their profession and the industry wherein they're currently employed.

Playing yo yos requires the person to develop a variety of skills, to adapt quickly to new ways of performing tricks, and to improvise while performing to produce the same result in fewer steps possible. Most players like to share tips and tricks with their fellow yo yo enthusiasts. Their use of lingo in describing specific moves or naming their tricks represent neural activity in their brain's left hemisphere where the area for language comprehension resides. These regular exchanges between yo yo players provide the right venues for kids to develop their social skills. Moreover, a healthy competition between players begets mutual respect for each other and also creates a sense of kinship within the community of players whether young or old.

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