Winter Brain Breaks

winter brain breaks

Need Winter Brain Breaks for the kids? Here, you will find energizing brain breaks are gross motor activities that can break up the school day or be added to the classroom schedule. Mix some of these movement breaks into the classroom to help kids focus and stay on task while getting a chance to get a short mental break from the class schedule. With more online time and increased screen time than ever before, and the added piece of wintery weather, brain breaks are needed more now than ever.

winter brain breaks

Winter Brain Breaks

I love that these movement breaks can give kids a chance to weave activity right into learning. Whether you are looking for stretches or specifics like activities that fit your curriculum, most of these brain break ideas can be modified to meet your classroom needs!

For more winter activities, try using these ideas to help kids develop specific skill areas:


Winter Fine Motor Activities – Use winter crafts, activities, snowflake crafts, and even paper icicles to work on fine motor skill work.

Indoor Recess Activities– These indoor recess activities get kids moving when it’s too cold to go outside.

Winter Bilateral Coordination Activities get kids moving with both sides of the body.

Winter Mindfulness Activities help to focus and attend to the task at hand, as well as help with coping needs.

And, you’ll want to check out our new Winter Fine Motor Kit. It’s an amazing resource of 100 pages designed to help kids move and build the skills they need. While focused on the fine motor aspect, this kit includes play dough mats, toothpick art, lacing cards, crumble art, I Spy pages, and more, all which can be used in indoor brain break types of activities.

Now, on to the winter brain breaks! Check out these Winter Brain Breaks for movement-based activity in the clinic, classroom, virtual therapy session, or home!


1. Build a snowman- This winter brain break requires imagination and some large motor skills! Students may need verbal cues and maybe a visual model when first doing this snowman brain break. Here’s what  Pretend to roll a ball of snow. Then another big snowball. Ask students to place their pretend snowballs on the first one to build the snowman. Next, pick up a carrot and some “rocks” from the ground. Press them into the snowman’s head. Next, look on the “ground” to find some sticks for arms. Press them into the sides of the sides of the snowman. Add any additional details like a scarf, hat, or boots. 

2. Winter Toothpick Art– Use the Winter Fine Motor Kit materials to get kids moving with the toothpick art activities. These can be used on cardboard or a carpeted area to help kids build fine motor strength and tripod grasp.

3. Penguin Freeze Dance- This winter brain break activity is a great addition to an arctic theme in the classroom! Take 5 minutes to move and groove, penguin-style! Turn on some music and the students can waddle like penguins! Then suddenly stop the music and all of the classroom penguins need to FREEZE! Play for about 5 minutes and then get back to learning.


4. Dice Roll- Write numbers 1-6 on the chalkboard. Assign each number to an action movement like hop up and down, touch the ground, stand on one leg, do a funny dance, jumping jacks, etc. Then roll the dice and everyone needs to do the action. Keep rolling and moving for 3-5 minutes. Some more action ideas include: turn in two circles, do a burpee, do a push-up, and sit on the floor then stand up very quickly.

5. Winter Crumble Art- This is another fun fine motor activity for indoor recess. Use bits of tissue paper or crumbled up construction paper to create a winter picture. These sheets are in the Winter Fine Motor Kit, too.


6. Winter Yoga- Add movement breaks to the classroom with some calming yoga moves. Winter themed yoga stretches can be a nice break in the classroom schedule when it’s too cold to go outdoors.

7. Winter Play Dough Mats– While not a traditional brain break, the winter play dough mats in our new Winter Fine Motor Kit allow kids a chance to move and gain essential proprioceptive input through their hands.

8. Snowman Says- Play a quick game of Simon Says with a snowman theme! Imagine you are part of a classroom full of snowmen who are moving their snowman parts. Use your imagination and stretch, move, and move that snow body!


9. Polar Bear Brain Breaks- This polar bear gross motor slide deck is wintery fun! We’ve shared a bear brain breaks free printable sheet here on The OT Toolbox. Use it with a polar bear theme! Hint: Do the same brain break activities and call it a polar bear move 🙂


10. Winter Brain Break YouTube Videos- There are some great break break ideas that are movement and activity videos on YouTube to get the kids up and moving so they are ready to learn. The YouTube brain break videos add movement and gross motor work. The ones listed below are winter themed. 

Winter Brain Breaks on YouTube


Baby Shark, Winter Edition:

Penguin Dance Brain Break: 

 

  The Sid Shuffle- Ice Age Continental Drift:

  Small Foot- Do the Yeti:  

I’m a Penguin- Brain Break for Kindergarten:  

Add winter brain break ideas to the classroom to add movement breaks so kids can learn and focus with better attention, all with a winter theme!

Need more Brain Break Resources? 

Follow our Brain Break Pinterest board.


Here are more brain break videos (not winter-themed), but great for any time of year.


Check out our past brain break activities here on The OT Toolbox and add them to your toolbox:



I hope these ideas are helpful in creating opportunities for movement and activity during these indoor recess months at school! 

winter fine motor kit

WINTER FINE MOTOR WORKSHEETS

To end out the Winter Week here on The OT Toolbox, I wanted to create a fine motor worksheets that are a true resource during the winter months. The Winter Fine Motor Kit contains fine motor worksheets that cover a variety of different fine motor abilities:  

These reproducible activity pages include: pencil control strips, scissor skills strips, simple and complex cutting shapes, lacing cards, toothpick precision art, crumble hand strengthening crafts, memory cards, coloring activities, and so much more.

Play Dough Roll Mats- We’ve shared some free play dough mats before. They are perfect for developing fine motor skills and hand strength needed for tasks like coloring with endurance, manipulating small items, and holding a pencil. Kids can roll small balls of play dough with just their fingertips to strengthen the intrinsic muscles. The Winter Fine Motor Kit contains 6 winter play dough mats that can be used all winter long!  

Pinch and Grip Strength Activities- Includes: glue skills page, tong/tweezer activities, lacing cards, finger puppets, 1-10 counting clip cards, 10 toothpick art pages, find & color page, 5 crumble art pages. TARGET SKILLS: Precision, pinch and grip hand strength, tripod grasp, arch development, bilateral coordination, open thumb web-space.

Pencil Control Worksheets- Connect the arctic animals or winter items and stay on the pencil path lines while mastering pencil control. Some of the lines are small and are a great way to strengthen the hands, too.  

Arctic Animal Cutting Strips and Scissor Skills Sheets- Work on scissor skills to cut along lines to reach the arctic animal friends or snowflakes, snowmen, and mittens. This is a great way to strengthen the motor and visual skills needed for cutting with scissors.   Also included are 7 scissor skills strips with graded precision designed for data collection and accuracy development, 2 color & cut memory cards, 4 pages simple cutting shapes in small/med/large sizes, 3 pages complex cutting shapes in small/med/large sizes, 2 small and 2 large cutting skills puzzles. These worksheets help kids develop graded scissor skill accuracy and precision, visual perceptual skills, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, bilateral coordination.

Handwriting Sensory Bin Materials- You and the kiddos will love these A-Z uppercase and lowercase tracing cards with directional arrows, 1-10 tracing cards with directional arrows, 1-10 counting cards. Using the sensory bin materials can develop tactile handwriting, letter and number formation, finger isolation, crossing midline, sensory challenges. These materials in the Winter Fine Motor Kit are a great brain break idea for kids.

“I Spy” Modified Paper- Includes: Color and find objects in two themes: winter items and arctic animals; 3 styles of modified paper for each theme: single rule bold lines, double rule bold lines, highlighted double rule. Use these pages to develop handwriting, pencil control, line and spatial awareness, legibility, visual perceptual skills, visual memory.

Fine Motor Handwriting Sheets- Try the 4 Find/Color/Copy pages in different styles of modified paper, rainbow writing pages in 3 styles of modified paper. These handwriting worksheets use the winter theme to help with handwriting, visual perception, pencil control, visual memory, visual attention, precision, pencil control, functional handwriting.

Write the Room Activities- Using a winter theme, these Write the Room cards includes: 5 lowercase copy cards, 5 uppercase copy cards, 5 lowercase tracing cards, 5 uppercase copy cards, 6 cursive writing copy cards, 2 styles of writing pages. TARGET SKILLS: Letter formation, pencil control, visual motor skills, visual attention, visual memory, line placement, functional handwriting at all levels and stages.

All of this is available in the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Winter Number Tracing Worksheet

winter clothes number tracing worksheet

When it comes to managing the long winter with activities, this winter number tracing worksheet has you covered. Use the winter clothes worksheet to talk with kids about winter clothing AND work on number formation. It’s a winter clothing printable that you’ll want to add to your therapy toolbox!

This free winter number tracing worksheet is a winter clothes activity for kids that helps with motor planning of number formation using a winter clothing printable.

Free Winter Number Tracing Worksheet

This winter clothing number tracing worksheet is similar to our recent Christmas lights number tracing printable.

Winter means different things for different people depending on their climate. Winter in the southern United States means adding a sweatshirt, possibly a hat at the bus stop early in the morning.  In the northern states winter is a different story.  Up north, winter starts in mid- September and seems to last until May.  I have northern roots but am a southern girl by heart. 

Winter months in cold areas of the world mean bundling up and adding clothes.  Mittens, hats, coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, earmuffs, thick socks, long johns, and lots of layers are the customary daily garb.  Imagine trying to put this on and off a toddler each time you head out!  As soon as you get your child decked out in all these layers, they usually announce the need to go to the toilet!  It never fails.

Since bundling up is a daily chore in the frozen north, why not add it to your treatment plan? The Warm Winter Clothes Number Trace Worksheet is a cute printable to build essential skills while using meaningful, relevant content.

Tracing Numbers Worksheets

Let’s talk tracing so you can use it to the maximum benefit and its intended purpose. 

I am not a fan of tracing unless it is used correctly, or the objective is understood. Here is information on the benefits of tracing

  • Tracing is not going to teach number/letter formation if the learner does not know what those figures are.  To a learner who does not know these symbols, they will be tracing lines, not numbers or letters
  • Know your audience. If your learner does not know the letters or numbers, use the activity as a fine motor task to develop dexterity
  • Kinesthetic awareness.  This long word means to learn by doing.  Theoretically if a person writes the number 5 enough times, the body will start to recognize this pattern and commit it to memory.  This only works if the learner understands what is being traced. Using our sandpaper writing trick is one great way to incorporate kinesthetic awareness into number tracing and number formation.
  • Tracing for dexterity. This is the type of tracing I like best.  Tracing for dexterity works on staying on the lines, fine motor control, building hand muscles, scanning and a whole host of other important skills as defined below

Winter Clothes Worksheet

While worksheets are not a favorite among occupational therapists, there are ways to support skill areas by using worksheets to meet the needs of kids. When we address the underlying skill areas to support function, printables like this winter clothes worksheet can address a variety of areas.

What does this winter number tracing worksheet work on besides tracing?

  1.  Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing.
  2.  Hand strength and dexterity – staying on the lines builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. Check out the In Hand Manipulation Printable Worksheet to incorporate developing the intrinsic hand muscles.
  3. Visual motor skills –Combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills.
  4.  Visual Perception – Developing figure ground to see where one item start and finishes, scanning to find all answers, and visual closure to understand that dotted lines will create something.
  5. Strength – Core strength needed for sitting, shoulder/elbow/wrist stability, finger strength, and head control all play their role in writing.
  6. Bilateral Coordination – Be sure your learner uses their helper hand for stabilizing the paper while using their dominant hand for writing.
  7. Counting/Learning Numbers – Count the items to understand number concepts in addition to tracing them.
  8. Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, and impulse control can be addressed using this Warm Winter Clothing Printable PDF.

When using a task such as this number tracing worksheet, therapists can utilize and focus on all the above skills or just one or two.  There are times when I am working more on executive function than fine motor skills but will use this task with more of my focus on these executive function skills.  My note might not say much about their number formation, counting skills, or neatness, but how well they were able to attend to the task, complete the task, follow directions, and control their impulses.

Winter Clothing Printable

There are so many ways to use this winter clothing printable to work on number tracing, and more.

How do I incorporate or modify this task for the needs of all my learners?

Lots of ways!  As always, this sheet can be laminated for reusability or marker use, printed on different colored paper for readability, enlarged or made smaller, made simpler or more complex. Try having learners color the shapes and write the numbers independently on the back to add more visual motor tasks to this winter clothes worksheet.

This covers one day of winter, what about the other 240?

Glad you asked!  The OT Toolbox is stuffed with activities, blog posts and work pages to fill those winter days. The Winter Fine Motor Kit full of handouts and PDF files provides several visual motor tasks to be used throughout the winter season.

Plus, in The OT Toolbox Members Club, you’ll find winter clothing printables and resources to address a variety of needs.

In addition to these handouts, you can also read this article on Winter Fine Motor Activities for more great ideas and suggestions:

Winter is a very long season. Especially if you are not a fan of the cold weather (author raises hand).  Adding fun activities and games can take some of the monotony and sting out of the long cold days. 

Brrrrrr, bundle up!

Free WINTER NUMBER TRACING WORKSHEET

Want to access this printable number tracing worksheet? Enter your email address into the form below. You can also find this winter clothing printable in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club.

Winter Clothing Number Tracing Worksheet

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    Victoria Wood

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    Watch for more winter clothes worksheets and winter printables coming to this space.