Cup Stacking studies show cup stacking helps stimulate a child's brain and in turn helps with focus and improves reading test scores and cross-patterning brain development. Jean Blaydes Madigan, founder of Action Based Learning and author of Thinking on Your Feet says, “What makes us move, makes us think. New learning follows established motor patterns first before it is stored in the cortex. Therefore, if we teach our students to move better, the better thinkers they will become…Information that is arranged in patterns is more easily processed, retained and retrieved.”
Cup stacking develops an individual's ability to cross their midline. his fun and intense game actually “forces” the child to cross the midline with their hands as well as their eyes, which engages the right and left hemispheres of the brain needed for higher learning concepts. As more children participated in these activities in school, teachers and physical education specialists started to notice a difference in the students’ development of language skills, math sequences and problem solving.
What many teachers and educators may not know is the impact cup stacking also has on a child’s visual processing skills and reading ability. Because the child is moving their hands so quickly, their eyes must also track the cups and the movement of their hands as they participate in the activity. The eyes naturally cross the midline to accomplish this task. These skills are very important for reading and writing development. “Eye-tracking exercises and peripheral vision development help reading. When students watch screens, their eyes lock in constant distant vision and the muscles that control eye movement atrophy…Tracking exercises, manipulatives, navigation activities and target games exercise the eye muscles, making the eyes fit to read.” (Madigan).
Sequencing and patterning are also elements of cup stacking that build math skills. When kids practice ordering and sequencing they build foundational skills for mathematical learning. As you learn more about the rules in cup stacking, there is an order and sequence each child must follow to correctly complete the exercise. Remembering sequences and patters helps students remember sequences and numbers within math problems as well, especially in geometry and trigonometry. It builds a strong foundation for problem solving and critical thinking.