3 STEM-Themed Brain Breaks for Kids

By Megan Sheakoski

Elementary School

Between school and homework, sometimes kids’ brains just need a break! Instead of letting them zone out in front of the TV, try a STEM-inspired brain break. Brain breaks give kids a chance to recharge while keeping their minds engaged and learning. Plus, it’s a great way to keep spirits up when the work level is high!

A brain break is a quick activity that helps kids become more alert and focused while working. Every once in a while, they stop and briefly do something active to help stimulate their brains. Then, after a minute or two, they return to their work with better focus. Instead of doing simple activities like jumping jacks, you can also activate thinking with STEM-based brain breaks!


1. Stack Them High

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  • Plastic disposable cups

Kids love stacking cups and it’s a great exercise in engineering and coordination. Give them a bunch of cups to see how high they can stack them in a minute. Once they get good at that, you can up the challenge by asking them to use the cups to design other shapes such as a rectangle or an octagon.


2. Things Are Getting Dicey

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  • 3-4 dice
  • Large Popsicle stick

Focus and concentration help kids to be able to stack dice on the end of a Popsicle stick they are holding in their mouths. Kids use focus and concentration to balance as many dice as they can at once. They can stack on top of each other or side by side. The goal is to get the dice to stay on for at least 10 seconds or more.


3. Cross That Line

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  • Straw
  • Pom pom or cotton ball
  • Washi or painter’s tape

Get kids thinking about angles and force while blowing a pom pom across the floor or table. Place two pieces of tape 3 feet away from each other and set the pom pom on one of them. Kids have to use the straw to blow the pom pom over the line. Remember, it doesn’t count if it doesn’t touch the line as it goes over it! Make it even more challenging by placing the tape in different spots.

Once kids master these activities, encourage them to design their own brain breaks. Creating their own activities can be a great way to motivate them to use the activities in the future and not get overwhelmed by lengthy projects or multiple assignments.

Looking for ways to give your child an edge for the future? Sylvan offers a variety of hands-on STEM programs! Our coding, robotics and science, and engineering programs are designed to inspire your elementary or middle school child as they experiment with important STEM concepts. Contact your local Sylvan to learn more today!