It’s a big task training a little brain to focus. Have you tried teaching a 3 year old to trace letters, or count to 10 lately? It can be an uphill battle working in structured learning activities and may be especially challenging for little ones starting preschool or kindergarten. Something that you can do to support your child as they learn to focus for longer periods of time is to incorporate brain breaks.
What is a brain break?
This is when kids are given short breaks throughout a learning period, either in a classroom or structured setting. The breaks can include movement and/or mindful activities. For toddlers and younger children who are mainly learning through play, it can still be beneficial to pause the “play” for a brain break and then redirect their attention.
When would it be useful?
Brain breaks can be implemented at any point when you notice your child losing interest or wiggling around.
Younger children: Typically kindergarten aged kids require a brain break every 5-10 minutes into a task. If you plan on introducing a learning activity that requires high attention to detail, like cutting along lines or tracing a complex pattern, it would be beneficial to do a mindful brain break before the activity to harness their energy.
Older students: Each student is different, but a brain break should be incorporated anywhere between 20-30 minutes throughout a structured learning period. Using a physical activity like jumping jacks, dance, or yoga can allow older students to reset their attention and prepare for the next lesson.
Here are a few brain break activities that work in our house…
- Mini dance party
- Yoga dice game
- Movement songs (We’re going on a Bear Hunt, Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes)
- Simon Says game
- Mindful breathing
- Sensory based exploration (pulling out different items from a Mystery Box)
- I Spy game
- Guess that Animal game (make animal sounds and have your child guess what the animal is)
Photo credit to the talented lady behind Cupclick Photography.