Do Hand-clapping Songs Improve Cognitive Skills?

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?

Was it you number one?

Who me?

Yes you.

Not I.

Then who?…..

I remember my sisters playing hand-clapping games. Facing each other, singing and hand slapping in various combinations to the beat. They tried teaching their little brother but he usually messed up. Little did they know that they were improving their motor and cognitive skills while having such childhood fun.

A recent study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev revealed that such activities improve cognitive function. “We found that children in the first, second and third grades who sing these songs demonstrate skills absent in children who don’t take part in similar activities,” explains Dr. Idit Sulkin author of the study. “We also found that children who spontaneously perform hand-clapping songs in the yard during recess have neater handwriting, write better and make fewer spelling errors.”

She noted that these activities seem to be a developmental process that children go through from about age 7 to 10, after which they are abruptly abandoned and replaced by sports.

Dr. Warren Brodsky, the music psychologist who supervised the study said Sulkin’s findings lead to the presumption that “children who don’t participate in such games may be more at risk for developmental learning problems like dyslexia and dyscalculia. There’s no doubt such activities train the brain and influence development in other areas.

Interestingly, Sulkin also found that hand-clapping song activity has a positive effect on adults as well. “These techniques are associated with childhood and many adults treat them as a joke,” she said. “But once they start clapping, they report feeling more alert and in a better mood”

This study should encourage teachers to add songs and movement to their classroom as part of play based learning. Improving motor and cognitive skills enhances all learning.

Souce: e! Science News

Submitted by Brian H. Nashman, Director
Certified FastForword Provider
Scholars Education Centres, Peterborough 705-742-4152

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