Kids can smarten up with Monkey Wisdom

When you need your child to calm down and focus before school or for that big test, Monkey Wisdom can help. This exercise is a great warm-up for reading and writing, says Leah Kalish, founder of Move With Me Action Adventures, which specializes in yoga and movement education for kids.

What it does


The cross-lateral movement activates your corpus callosum, the thick band of nerves that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain, enhancing thinking, comprehension and learning.

What to do

Stand with feet more than hip-width apart, hands out to the sides at shoulder height. Lift your left knee and reach across your body with your right hand and touch it. Then put the left foot down and bring your arm back to the side. Next lift the right knee, touching it with your left hand and return to your starting position. Continue smoothly and rhythmically swinging each hand across the midline of your body to touch the opposite knee.

Here’s the song Kalish uses to help kids remember it:

“Swing like a monkey [left hand to right knee], flying through the trees [right hand to left knee],

Buzz like a bumblebee, floating on a breeze.

Switch your arms. Touch opposite knee.

Monkey wisdom, recharge me!”

How much

Repeat movement for the length of the song. Repeat up to three times.