After a long day of school, kids come home and are exhausted! They’ve just plowed through 8 hours of schedules, sitting, chatter, and brain overload. Then, we pull them from the bus and pile a stack of homework in front of them! Brain Breaks make a great movement activity that can help kids transition between the school-day to after-school at home. Kids need a transition. How do you separate the school day from the safety of home and carefree playtime?
Brain Breaks offer a child the chance to re-group and re-center themselves after a period of quiet time work. After focusing on the school day’s requirements, a movement-focused activity can offer a child a brain break.
After School Brain Breaks
What are Brain Breaks?
Incorporating movement into learning provides children with a chance to re-energize and improves learning and the ability to focus. Brain Breaks are quick movement activities that involve mid-line crossing. There are many articles and research done touting the benefits of active play and cognition. Brain Breaks are a way to allow the brain to shift gears to physical activity.
After School Brain Breaks
Typically, brain breaks are incorporated into periods of learning. In this post, I’m sharing ideas to jump start learning and homework tasks. After school, kids usually walk or ride home from school. They get a chance to move around, and get thier wiggles out. These ideas are perfect for incorporating into learning tasks, but can also be used to start off a table-top learning or homework task. Maybe your child does one math worksheet and still has spelling words to practice. Ease the transition between subjects with a mini-brain break.
Use these Brain Break ideas during a homeschool day, in between homework tasks, or to change things up a bit and take a mini break while practicing math facts!
Looking for brain break videos for the classroom or home? Here are the best brain break videos on YouTube.
Homework Brain Breaks & Healthy Snack
My kids hop off the school bus and are famished. So, snack time was my main motivator in this brain break activity. Now. A fun movement activity would be sure to bring on the smiles at the end of a long school day, but many times, we need to get homework started before playtime begins.
Easy Brain Break ideas:
(These are movement based activities with a bit of proprioception added in)
- Play hopscotch
- Simon Says
- Dance party
- Touch elbows to opposite knees
- Jumping Jacks
- Wall push-ups
- Big hugs
- Crab Walks
- Bear crawls
- Wheelbarrow walking
When kids come home famished, a sensory-based snack can be a big help. Some ideas to increase alertness include crunchy nut mixes and granola. Other ideas are crunchy pretzels, crisp apple slices, or popcorn. Other kids might need to regulate with heavy work through the mouth and jaw. A chewy fruit leather, licorice, or smoothie can meet that need. The chewiness of raisins and cranberries and the crunch of nuts are perfect for proprioceptive input in snacks. Read more about proprioception here. Adding a proprioceptive snack to our brain break activity was a great way to start homework time.
I cut a few circles to fit small plastic bowls. On the circles, I wrote out a few brain break activities, like “Dance Party” and “Skip around the house”.
Place the paper circles in the bottom of the snack cups and fill with a healthy snack. Your kids can eat the snack and when they get to the bottom of the bowl, they can read the message an complete the brain break. The message alone brought smiles to my kids’ faces, but when we started on the dance party, there were giggles, too!
More Brain Break Ideas
Snacks like this one would be a great addition to a middle school brain break.