A sensory break allows for time to decompress, reset, and receive the input necessary to feel more regulated. Also known as a brain break or movement break, when a child gets a quick sensory break, they are able to move, increase blood flow, and receive either the calming or active input they need to aid with focus and concentration. Kids need to move their bodies in order to stay alert and focused. They can only attend for so long by sitting still and being quiet. It is important to allow for movement breaks both at home and in the classroom to increase focus and concentration.
Here are 10 simple classroom appropriate activities to use as movement breaks with children:
- Turn on some music and have a quick dance break
- Do jumping jacks
- Jog in place
- Try some yoga poses
- Wiggle the sillies out
- Bounce on an exercise ball
- Show a quick energizing brain break video
- Play Simon Says
- Deep Breathing
- Extra Recess!
A classroom can be somewhat limiting as to the scope of sensory and movement breaks. When our kids need movement breaks at home, there are some simple movement breaks we can provide with a bit more room. Some ideas include bouncing on a trampoline, using a hula hoop, swinging, water play, and a body sock.
It is important to determine whether the sensory break activities are providing the appropriate input. For instance, if a child is already feeling antsy, then he/she would probably benefit from a yoga pose or stretching rather than wiggling or dancing. Once you discern the difference between when your child needs an active break or a calm break, you can plan an appropriate sensory break.
Sensory breaks allow children to receive the necessary combination of sensory input to organize the nervous system. Using brain breaks and movement breaks regularly to provide a child the appropriate sensory input can increase focus, concentration and productivity.
-Jessica Glenbocki, Occupational Therapist