I am currently doing something I said I would never, ever, do. I’m homeschooling our son. Never say never right? We are just so much smarter pre-parentood aren’t we (insert dramatic, Liz Lemon style eye roll here)?
But alas, here we are. It’s definitely been a trial and I still don’t know what I’m doing 85% of the time, but one think I have been doing well is not putting so much pressure on a 4 year old to be a certain way. We all have different learning styles, and I am learning that focus looks different for everyone. And my child actually focuses better when he is able to move freely and often. Enter our very frequent brain breaks.
I’ve been doing this with Kai for over a year now, even before we started this homeschool gig. If you read this post, you’ll know how much time I spend planning sensory activities because he needs the integration and output. But I needed a quicker, easier way when we are both losing it or I just don’t have to time to plan to get some intentional, proprioceptive movement in (and vestibular and other things-lots of cross over). We use this the most now when we are doing our preschool at home time. I have a very kinesthetic learner on my hands (shocker). He focuses best when he gets a “brain break” every 10-15 minutes. So this is an easy and fun way to do it! Whether you need these ideas on a rainy day, want to incorporate this for your own kids you are schooling at home, you’re a teacher and need some ideas for your classroom, or you guys just want to get moving as a family, this is an easy, virtually free way to do it. Here’s what you’ll need:
Mason Jar or Cup of your choice
Take your sharpie, and write at least 25 different types of movement, movement related games or activities. Then when you need a “brain break”, let your kid choose 4-5 sticks, read off what it says and do it together!
This is also another way we get in our yeses at home. You have to do whatever the stick says, so be prepared that if one of your sticks involves going outside, you need to remove that stick on a rainy or cold or too hot day. I’ll get you going, but be creative! Our sticks are always growing, and honestly Kai gives me more ideas just watching him. Use what you have, maybe incorporate special things in your house you don’t get out super often as a fun surprise to put in there. Obviously you can change or modify these based on your kids ages and specific needs. Mine needs a lot of heavy work and heavy pressure, so you’ll see lots of using your own body weight in there. So, here are 25 brain breaks, then be creative and add more!
25 Brain Breaks
- Frog Jumps
- Bear Crawls
- Donkey Kicks
- Crab Walks
- Snake Slithers (army crawl)
- Mini Trampoline (do all kinds of different jumps here!)
- Hand Sandwiches ( a sensory joint compression activity)
- Pull Sadness (from Inside Out, pull your kid like Joy pulls Sadness-they’ll think it’s hilarious and gives joint compression)
- Obstacle Course (use what you have-crawl under chairs, jump over pillows, etc.)
- Tip Toe Walks
- Hand Stands
- Wall Pushes
- Red Light, Green Light (you can be creative here and incorporate other sticks like the first 5 so you are alternating movement and not just running, plus working on auditory processing)
- Bounce House (we have this one, and yes it can take up my entire living room and it’s worth it)
- Go for a walk
- Ride Scooter
- Yoga (this is a kid friendly channel)
- Train with the Lion Guard (little shorts Disney Jr. created, my son loves them)
- Play chase
- Push car races (we have a push car, a little motorcycle, and a plasma car. I humiliate myself and get on the plasma car and race Kai through the house, but you could also just be silly and push your kiddo around.)
- Push Ups
- Mountain Climbers
- Parachute (we don’t actually have a parachute, we just use a blanket-same thing! You can get creative here and put balls or stuffed animals on top of it, change speed, sit and put legs under it and kick)
- Wheel Barrel Walks (I hold Kai’s legs, he walks forward on his hands, and then attempts to do the same for me which makes us both fall with laughter).
So there you go! There’s 25 brain breaks for you. There are so many benefits to moving with your kids. Even preschool age children need at minimum 60 minutes of structured physical activity each day. This is a great way to incorporate structure in a playful, connected way. If you incorporate this, I’d love to see your creativity! Tag @spoonfulofjordan on instagram and use the hashtag #spoonfulofjordan. Enjoy!