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Keeping bodies & Brains active

Over the last year, many of us have become intimately acquainted with The Great Indoors. From social restrictions to school-from-home, adults and children alike have spent an inordinate amount of time hunkered down, waiting for the pandemic to subside.

As the months go by however, we must consider that it could be some time before we’re all back to business and life as usual. For parents, it is especially challenging to keep their children’s bodies and brains active.

Sports have long been the go-to activity for kids of all ages. Children learn valuable lessons about teamwork, good sportsmanship and gain the ability to accept (and respond to) coaching. These are skills that stick with a child throughout their life and are applicable from school to the jobsite.

Assigning enjoyment to physical activities goes a long way toward a future of healthy lifestyle choices:

  • When school-sponsored sports aren’t available due to age, schedule or other restrictions, parents can pursue a low-cost, fun alternative in community-based programs such as those through the Boys and Girls Club.

  • Although exceedingly popular, not every kid wants to play soccer. Dance, gymnastics and yoga are healthy alternatives.

Keeping a child’s mind engaged in a disengaged time can be a challenge. Studying music has been shown to encourage creative thinking (it’s learning another language, after all) and performing in an orchestra or band achieves the same teamwork skills as a sports team. Additionally, studies have shown that one’s brain actually works harder while studying music, so it can help flex that muscle for use in other scholarly areas.

In some local school districts, school children have the good fortune to be offered opportunities to pick up an instrument as early as the fourth grade. And, as a school-sponsored activity, every effort is made to ensure that any child can participate, regardless of resources.

  • Choir programs are often offered before or after school, and for class credit in high school.

  • Marching band, jazz band, pit orchestra and other opportunities are available in high school, in addition to solo and ensemble competitions across the state.

  • Salem Youth Symphony offers no-audition and auditioned opportunities in four different levels of symphony orchestras. Visit for information.

  • If your child is looking for something a little different, RiverCity Rockstar Academy offers classes to budding rock-n-rollers. Visit for information.

The skills learned while participating in sports or music programs go far beyond the winning goal or the prize-winning performance. Being a student athlete or a student musician can foster creative thinking and life lessons that extend beyond the classroom.


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