Make the most of your child’s inquistive mind and incorporate some much-needed brain breaks into your virtual learning routine. Short, active breaks can help reduce stress and frustration and increase learning and productivity.
“Kids, just like adults, get frustrated, overstimulated and tired,” said Sandra Kent, with Oklahoma A+ Schools. “Having multiple outlets to refocus and refresh is so important to learning.
“Every kid is different and what works might be different each time.”
Brain breaks don’t always have to be active. Calming, quiet activities can be a great way to recharge an over stimulated mind.
Here are 19 simple ideas to incorporate into your homeschool or virtual learning school day:
- Shake the sillies out and move along to some action songs. The Learning Station is a great resource for active songs for kids.
- Play an active game like Simon Says. YouTube has this fun Simon Says video from The Kiboomers that kids can do on their own or make it a family affair.
- Engage your whole body with yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga has a selection of short videos that are perfect for a brain break.
- Create some minute move-its! Write down some simple exercises and see how many your child can do in minute. Quick exercises like jumping jacks, high knees, frog hops and running in place work great to get their blood pumping.
- Reset with a quick game of I Spy. This old-school classic is a fun way to destress and can be modify for a variety of skill levels.
- Calm the mind with creativity. Coloring or doodling is a great reset. Have your child draw a continuous line spiraling around on a piece of paper, Kent suggested. Color or craft a design out of the resulting creation.
- Play a math game. Playtime can be learning time too, especially if a child is showing off a newly learned skill.
- Go outside. Take a few minutes to step away and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
- Stretch! Young kid can have fun moving and stretching their bodies like animals. It’s good for the imagination and for the body.
- Sooth an overworked mind with some sensory activities. Make a calming glitter jar, smash some playdough or squeeze a DIY stress ball.
- Engage the brain with cross body movements, which are like food for the brain, Kent said. Think right elbow to left knee, right hand to left ear, etc. You can even clap opposite hands with a parent or sibling, anything to activate both sides of the brain.
- Read a joke book. Humor is a great stress reliever.
- Blow bubbles. Have fun and get in some deep breathing too!
- Take a walk or a bike ride.
- Test your hula hooping skills! Who can keep it going the longest?
- Join in a family game of balloon volleyball.
- Grab some sidewalk chalk and play a game of hopscotch.
- Craft an healthy snack to fuel your mind and body. Shape Your Future has a wealth of kid-friendly, nutritious ideas.
- Hum. The vibration of humming can help shift the brain. Get louder, softer, faster, slower, create patterns.
Sandra Kent is the executive director of Oklahoma A+ Schools, an initiative that assists schools with ongoing professional development, a network of support and active research to create and educational environment that gets kids excited about learning and produces better achievement.