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!

Supplies needed:

  • Source of light
  • Your hands

Inspiration! Check online for lots of hand shadow ideas from videos or pictures.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Find a place where there are shadows. The sun casts shadows on a clear day and lamps make shadows too.
  2. Look at the picture and video examples in this post.
  3. Place your hands between the light source and the blank surface.
  4. Try making shapes with your hands and fingers that cast an animal shadow shape. Wiggle your fingers to see the animal move.
  5. See if you can make your animal eat, or talk, or walk!

Additional Fun

After practicing, see if a friend can guess the shadow animal.

Challenge Extensions

Get a grownup to help hang a sheet that you can use to cast shadows onto with the sun or a lamp behind you. Make the animals “talk” and have a hand shadow puppet show!

“The Why” behind the Activity

This Brain Break is easy to learn, educational, physically beneficial, and always “right at hand” to provide amusement. It is fueled by your imagination!

Check out these books for more fun!

Shadows by Meg Gaertner

Hand Shadows to Be Thrown upon the Wall by Henry Bursill with Project Gutenberg (eBook)

The Usborne Book of Puppets by Ken Haines and Gill Harvey; illustrated by Teri Gower