Brain Breaks are short activities, often only 1-3 minutes long, that help kids get ready to learn or refocus on the task at hand. They often involve physical activity and movement though relaxing activities can also boost mental brain power. So, in addition to encouraging your kids to participate in these fun breaks, join the kiddos and have some refreshing, stress-free fun yourself, too!


You may have seen the game show Minute to Win It, but did you know you can play it at home? Each Minute to Win It is just that – one minute long. That makes it perfect for a Brain Break!

For the following challenges, attempt to complete the challenge using common household objects in 60 seconds or less.


Block Stack

You will need:

  • 5 blocks or 5 dice
  • 1 paper plate

Have child balance a plate on his/her head and try to stack five blocks or dice on top of the plate.

Breakfast Scramble

You will need:

  • 1 empty cereal box
  • Scissors

Cut the front of one cereal box into 16 pieces and scramble them. Have child try to put the box covers back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Cotton Ball Scoop

You will need:

  • Cotton balls
  • Bowl
  • Bandana or scarf for blindfold
  • Spoon

Set an empty bowl on the table and sprinkle small cotton balls around the ball. Blindfold the individual and hand him/her a spoon. Give your child one minute to scoop as many cotton balls into the bowl as possible before time is up.

Activity Extensions:

Repeat a favorite challenge. Can your child beat his or her previous time record?

Shake up your breaks by trying a different challenge during each daily break.

Search online for hundreds of Minute to Win It ideas. Find some that would appeal directly to your child’s interests.

Let your child choose a Minute to Win It game to try.

Ask your child to create a Minute to Win It game.

“The Why” behind the Activity:

These short challenges are packed with a punch. In a minute or less, your child builds self-esteem, develops creative and quick-thinking skills, and boosts attention and motivation to learn. Additionally, the challenges can help reinvigorate your child’s energy, reduce anxiety and burnout, and is offers a joyful, unique, and just plain fun experience. Do it with your child and you’ll reap the benefits too!

Check out these books for more fun and games for kids:

101 Music Games for Children: Fun and Learning with Rhythms and Songs by Jerry Storms; translated by Anne Griffiths

String Games by Richard Darsie

Boredom Buster: Games for the Road by Nicola Baxter

Crazy Eights and Other Card Games by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson