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!
A variety of small snacks like carrot sticks; celery; sticks; apple slices; applesauce; blueberries; crackers; yogurt; dried fruit- like raisins or mangos; orange slices; hummus; cheese; etc.
Here’s What We Do:
Let’s start by washing our hands so we are ready to eat our snacks.
- Sit with your snacks in front of you and take 3 long breaths in and out, not touching your food.
- Say the name of each food. Then name the color of each food.
- Pick each snack up and smell it. What does it smell like?
- Now take a bite! As you chew, name three things about that bite. Is it salty? Is it sweet? Is it crunchy? Is it soft? Is it yummy?
- See if you can chew just one bite of your snack for 20 seconds. Have an adult or sibling or friend count for you., or count silently in your head.
- After you have had enough or you have finished, close your eyes, take 3 long breaths in and out and say out loud the kinds of food you just ate. What was your favorite? What smelled the best? Which one was your favorite color?
For the little ones: Before eating, let kids arrange their food into groups based on color, texture, or taste.
For the older kids: Before eating, let kids arrange their snacks into a mandala or pattern, or have them arrange in alphabetical order- apples, carrots, celery, raisins, etc. See if they can make any animals or faces with their food.
The “Why” behind the challenge:
Sometimes our brains need a break from learning and sitting still, and food and water help us refocus. Having a snack is great way to give your mind a break, while also giving it the fuel it needs to continue with learning and having fun. Adding a few extra minutes for your snack break to eat mindfully not only helps your body digest the food better so you get more energy from it, it also makes it taste better! Eating slowly gives your body more time to recognize when its full and gives you more time to relax and connect with the people around you.
Check out these “yummy” books:
Food Faces by Deanna F. Cook
Carrots Like Peas : and Other Fun Facts by Hannah Eliot
Artful Snacks by Marilyn LaPenta