My kids have energy. Energy that doesn’t wait for a math lesson to end or a school day to be over. My kids move (and talk) all day long. And even when I’m following my cardinal rule of “short lessons,” I can still see their minds straining to focus at the task when all their body wants to do is move. It’s part of being a kid, but it’s even more a part of being a kid with ADHD. And for my daughter with both ADHD and dyslexia, the effort to focus all of that energy on the task of processing information leaves her wilting beside me on the couch. Until I say those magic words…”Brain Break!”
This summer, we picked up the Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks (aff. link) at a homeschool convention, and already it’s been a huge life-saver in our homeschool. My kids love it, and I love having a variety of creative ideas that I didn’t have to come up with on my own. I used to have my kids do jumping jacks, plank, or do push-ups. Now, they “jump the river,” “tiptoe-heel race,” “climb a mountain,” act out a caterpillar turning into a butterfly or a seed sprouting from the ground.
I’ll see one child slinking in his seat after a challenging assignment and call out “brain break,” and kids come charging in from every corner of the house. (At least, it sounds like it. My three can easily sound like 14 kids stampeding through the house.) The child upstairs, the child in the next room, and the child beside me on the couch all rush to our brain break jar and huddle around to see what fun is up next. My 6th grader, 4th grader, and kindergartener all love these brain break ideas.
It only takes a couple of minutes, but oh what a difference those couple of minutes make! I’ve noticed, too, that these are great mood-changers. When one of my kids is in “a mood” about school, a couple of brain breaks usually helps her turn a corner and happily proceed to the next task. There aren’t many “miracle” products in homeschool, but I consider this to be one for us.
Could you make your own version instead of buying the product? Sure. There are a number of ideas on Pinterest. But I love how easy this product is to use. If I waited until I could find, print, and make my own, we’d still be doing jumping jacks. The ideas and explanations for those ideas are all ready for us. The $15 print-edition of the Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks are on thick glossy card stock, and all I had to do was cut them out and choose a jar. But you could also choose to print and laminate the ebook version for $10.
If you have an active or distracted learner, take a look at the Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks (aff. link). It’s a simple, fun solution to jump start your busy learners.