Indoor Brain Break Activities

Animal Walks Game
o Crab walks: targets hip extension strengthening (glute muscles) and coordination via alternating hand and foot movements. Perform forward, as opposed to backwards walking, for an increased challenge
o Bear walks: targets core strength and coordination via stabilizing this movement while alternating hand and foot placement
o Penguin walks: good for kiddos that like to walk on their toes by providing calf stretching and a different motor pattern that is opposite to their usual motor pattern
o Tall giraffes: targets calf strengthening and balance as it promotes ankle stability and balance training with the upper extremities in a position of decreased stability
o Frog Jumps: targets gross lower extremity strengthening and coordination as you have to achieve a deep squat, stand, and jump up into the air while coordinating the reversal of this movement in a controlled manner while returning to the starting position. Good for the older kids
o Bunny hops: targets jumping skills and coordination for younger kids. Goal is to jump with both feet at the same time while landing on both feet at the same time, promoting a good symmetrical take off and equal strengthening.

o Forward sliding: with feet on sliders, promotes both lower extremity strengthening and coordination to maintain pressure through feet for duration of movement, moving against resistance through sliders
o Side sliding: increased challenge by targeting side hip musculature that improves hip stability
o Diagonal sliding: good for older kids because it adds a coordination component to the task. Perform with a slight squat in the legs to target hip strengthening throughout
o Bear crawls with sliders under hands: promotes weight shift to the upper extremities to maintain pressure through hands for duration of task
o Bear crawls with sliders under hands and feet: increased challenge due to moving hands and feet against resistance, must maintain pressure through all extremities to coordinate movement
o Plank walks with sliders at feet: sliders placed underneath feet, walk arms forward while maintaining core control in strong plank position. Targets core, hip, and upper extremity strengthening

Obstacle course
o Blanket folded into balance beam: targets balance and ankle stability as this is an unstable surface. Increase the challenge and promote hip strengthening with side stepping
o Pillows as stepping stones: promotes balance, ankle stability, and coordination as the child steps across them. Increase the challenge and hip strengthening with side stepping, but take note to promote a step to pattern rather than grape vine walking or stepping across to assure strengthening in a good range of motion
o Step stool: standard lower extremity strengthening. For younger kids, they can step to on top of the stool, but to increase the challenge perform by stepping up and over the stool. For added challenge yet, perform side stepping with a good step to pattern
o Can integrate sliders into obstacle courses as well

Ball skills
o All to promote hand eye coordination and improved motor planning
o Throwing skills
 Underhand: perform with good opposite leg step
 Overhand: practice with good opposite leg step and shoulder elevation of throwing arm for increased coordination challenge
o Catching: practice with catching with arms only, rather than trapping against chest
o Perform in a variety of balance positions
 Romberg stance: feet together, simplest balance posture that has an added challenge with the perturbations from catching and throwing, as well as reaching outside of the child’s base of support
 Tandem stance: one foot in front of the other. Increased challenge from above
 Single limb stance: standing on one-foot, highest level of challenge
o Toe picks ups with cotton balls, marbles, or pom poms: strengthens intrinsic, small, foot musculature for improve foot and ankle stability. For increased challenge, perform in single limb stance while picking up objects with opposite foot

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Sara McKeeman, SPT
Mariah Cottrill, PT, DPT