5 Inexpensive, Physically Active “Brain Breaks”


Each season brings it’s own parenting challenges, but wintertime in a pandemic?! That’s next level. With so many indoor venues still closed, and with continued concern over COVID spread, many families are hunkering down now more than ever before. However, with SO much time spent at home, and in front of screens, it’s important to make sure you and your children have time for physically active brain breaks. Thankfully, you don’t need to invest loads of money into devices or classes or equipment to give your kiddos an outlet to laugh, get their bodies moving, and activate their brains in unique ways. No playroom or backyard? Me neither! It’s no problem! These 5 inexpensive (or free) options can all be done in your living room, hallway, or even your kitchen. Here are 5 ideas for active brain breaks that our family loves to incorporate into our lives.

Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

1. Charades

My 5-year-old received this Charades tin for her birthday and it has been a HUGE hit. At under $10, it’s an unbeatable price point. There are many different versions available, but I love the compact portability of the tin version. One of the best perks of this version is that kids as young as 3 can join in the fun. The picture cards make it so that no reading is required. We have also played this with neighbor kids outside; in these COVID times, this is a terrific option for a cooperative activity where it is easy to maintain social distancing. Win-win for kiddos in need of a physical break and some safe social time with friends.

2. Yoga Cards

I love how schools are incorporating tools like yoga and mindfulness into their days. Online yoga classes for kids, like Cosmic Yoga, are terrific, but not when you’re trying to reduce screen time. Yoga Pretzels cards to the rescue! These visually appealing cards are a great way to bring yoga skills to your family when you’re stuck at home. These cards were a gift to one of my daughters a few years ago. It’s continued to be an activity we come back to frequently. Sometimes we will break out the cards in the middle of the day during a break in virtual learning, sometimes we’ll choose a few to do in the morning to help get us going. They are also great for a centering activity before bedtime. I also appreciate how there are breathing cards included, which are great tools for stress management in young children as well.

Yoga Pretzels yoga cards have been a favorite in my family for a few years!

3. Freeze Dance

An oldie but a goodie. Turn on the radio or your favorite Pandora station and get grooving! Dance parties are a common occurrence in our household, and a fun way to mix things up is by making them into freeze dances. Each person can have a turn having control over the music and choosing when to shout “FREEZE!”. Super silly, super active, it’s a great free activity to keep in your arsenal of ideas for an active brain break.

4. Obstacle Course

Making an obstacle course takes a little bit of planning, but is so much fun for ALL kids. There are countless ways to organize these, but the beauty of them lies in the fact that you really don’t need any special equipment—just some imagination! Check out my post on ways to play with painter’s tape for my girls’ favorite “spiderweb” obstacle course idea.

5. Twister

This blast from the past is a phenomenal way to literally stretch your kids while providing an active brain break during virtual learning! Everyone is guaranteed to end up with the giggles, too. For under $20, you and your family can own this classic game for years to come. And for littles, it’s an entertaining way to practice left vs. right!

This classic game gets you moving!

What are your favorite ways to get your children moving while indoors? Share below!

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