Mind Games

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These easy activities promote the development of the sensory integration system of the brain. Bi-lateral integration, vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems are stimulated through these easy activities.
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Three Minute Fun for the Brain
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Students should do these sort of activities at the beginning of the day, or as a brain-break during the course of a day to bring a release to tension and promote sensory integration.

Note: Where you, as the teacher, notice that a student is struggling with these activities, please refer them to an occupational therapist for assessment in order to address learning development issues.

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Class Fun
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These Class Fun Activities aim to develop gross motor skills along with balance, concentration, and bilateral integration. They generally require more time and some organisation to get a class to do the activities in order and progression.
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The Seven Minute Brain Trainer
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BELLY BREATHING
Calming, Handling Disappointment, Focus, Decision Making

– Student places their hands on their abdomen. Exhale through their mouth in short little puffs, as if they are keeping a feather in the air, until the lungs feel empty. Repeat activity over 4 minutes. The oxygen coming into the blood stream energises, yet settles the body.
– The regulated breathing also slows the electricity surging in the nervous system, bringing calm.
– Teachers may find it helpful to count while the students breathe, encouraging a five-second breath inward, holding the breath for five seconds, then releasing for five seconds. Students should repeat this exercise at least three times.
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BRAIN BUTTONS
Problem solving, Keeping Positive, Goal Setting

– Brain Buttons helps to reduce stress and are ideal exercises between activities. For instance, if students have just completed a particularly difficult mathematics section and are showing frustration with the assignment, they should take a break and perform this exercise.
– Resting one hand over the navel, with the thumb and fingers of the other hand, feel for the two hollow areas under the collarbone, about one inch out from the centre of the chest. Rub these areas vigorously for 30 seconds to one minute, as the student look from left to right.
– This activity stimulates the carotid arteries which supply freshly oxygenated blood to the brain. It helps re-establish directional messages from parts of the body to the brain, improving reading, writing, speaking and the ability to follow directions.
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CALF PUMP
Developing Communication, Enthusiasm, Speed Reading

– Students to stand arm’s length away from a wall and place their hands shoulder-width apart against it. Extend their left leg straight out behind they, so the ball of their foot is on the floor and their heel is off the floor. Their body is slanted at a 45 degree angle.
– Exhale, leaning forward against the wall, while also bending their right knee and pressing their left heel against the floor. Inhale and then raise themselves back up, while relaxing and raising the left heel.
– Repeat three or more times. Then alternate to the other leg and repeat.
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CROSS-CRAWL
Problem Solving, Goal Setting, Public Speaking, Speed Reading

– Standing up, students march in their place, lifting their legs and touching each hand to the opposite knee. Complete 40 hand-to-knee tasks, then do relaxed breaths for 1 minute..
– This exercise is wonderful for improving reading, listening, writing and memory. It co-ordinates the whole brain.
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EARTH BUTTONS
Staying Calm, Staying Positive, Being Assertive

– Rest two fingers of one hand under their lower lip. Place the heel of the other hand on their
navel, with fingers pointing downwards. Breathe deeply as they look at the floor. Moving only their eyes, look gradually from the floor to the ceiling, then down again. Repeat this for three or more breaths, as they entire body and eyes relax.
– This stimulates the brain and relieves mental fatigue. It also helps to enhance their ability to focus on near objects.
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ENERGISER
Relaxing, Concentration, Focusing, Organising

– Sit on a chair in front of a table, resting their forehead between their hands on the table top. Exhale fully. Now, while slowly lifting their head, inhale deeply, breathing into the base of their spine. Their torso and shoulders should stay relaxed. As they exhale, tuck their chin down onto their chest and begin moving their head down toward the table, while lengthening the back of their neck. Rest their head on the table as they relax and
breathe deeply. Repeat three or more times.
– This keeps the back muscles toned and the spine supple, flexible and relaxed. It improves posture and concentration and is very useful for those who work at desks and computers.
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ENERGY YAWN
Public Speaking, Developing Sense of Humour, Communication

– As students begin to yawn, lightly press the fingertips of each hand against any tight spots they feel where their cheeks cover their upper and lower molars. Make a deep, relaxed, yawning sound while gently stroking away any tension. Repeat three or more times.
– This relaxes the jaw, releasing tension and also stimulates and relaxes the eyes. It is said to even improve creativity, as there is a relationship between ease of jaw motion and ease of expression.
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GROUNDER
Comprehension, Memory, Expression, Organisation

– Stand with their legs a little less than one leg-length apart. Point their left foot straight ahead of they; point their right foot towards the right. Now bend their right knee as they exhale, keeping the left knee straight. Their body should face squarely to the front. Do the movement over three or more complete breaths, then repeat facing the opposite direction.
– This increases comprehension, short-term memory, self-expression and organisational skills.
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HOOK UP
Staying Calm, Staying Positive, Goal Setting, Public Speaking

– This is a calming exercise that helps students de-stress and focus. It is ideal to perform Hook Ups after play time or recess to bring students’ energy levels down and reengage them in the learning process. To perform Hook Ups, students sit in their chairs and cross their right legs over their left legs at their ankles. Students then place their right wrists over their left wrists, and curl their hands inward so that their fingers may interlock. Students should rotate their wrists so that their fingers are toward their bodies and their elbows point outward. The hands should then be drawn in to the breast bone. Students should stay in this position for a few minutes, breathing deeply and slowly.
– This exercise will calm students down and make them ready for other classroom activities.
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LAZY EIGHTS
Crossing the mid-line of the brain- Bilateral integration, Communication

– Student extends one arm straight out in front of them, with the thumb pointing toward the ceiling. In the air, smoothly and slowly trace the shape of a large figure 8 on its side. As they draw the 8, focus the eyes on their thumb, keeping their head upright, facing forward and moving only slightly. Start tracing their 8 by beginning at eye level. Students moves their arm up and over to the left, around and back to centre, then to the right. Do three full 8s with one hand, then three with the other and finally three with both hands clasped together.
– This activity integrates both visual fields, improving balance and co-ordination. Many people report better vision after this exercise.
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LINE HOP
Balance, Vestibular development

– Students can get into lines of 5 people, put a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them and hop in lines, as they use the right hand to hold the left foot, and the left hand to the right foot, behind them.
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NECK ROLLS
Problem Solving, Handling Disappointment, Vestibular, Thinking

-While breathing deeply, relax their shoulders and drop their head forward. Close their eyes while slowly and easily rolling their head from side to side. At any point of tension, relax their head while making small circles with their nose and breathing fully. Do three or more complete side to side motions.
– Improves breathing, relaxation of vocal cords (for more resonant speech).

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OWL
Staying Calm, Dealing with Disappointment

– Holding two fingers under the lower lip while breathing deeply. Breath out and make hoot like an owl.
– This activity is calming and releases emotional tension, slowing the electrical activity across the brain and allows they to focus on a new task of learning.
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POSITIVE POINTS
Staying Calm, Problem Solving, Public Speaking

– Above the centre of each eyebrow and halfway to the hairline, they will find a slight indentation. Lightly place three fingers of each hand on each of these indentations. Close their eyes and hold the points lightly, pulling the forehead slightly taut, during the course of six to ten slow complete breaths.
– Touching these points diffuse the “fight or flight” reflex, releasing emotional stress and allows a more rational response to stressful situations.
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THE ROCKER
Developing a Sense of Humour, Concentration, Comprehension

– Have students sit on a padded surface (use a mat or towels) on the floor with their knees bent and their feet together in front of them. Leaning back, with their weight on their hands and hips, students should rock in small circles, or back and forth, as they focus on melting away tension in their hips and back of legs.
– This activity increases the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to the brain, thus improving the ability to focus, concentrate and comprehend.
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SPACE BUTTONS
Attention and Focus, Decision Making, Comprehension

– Resting two fingers above their upper lip, place their other hand, pointing downward, on their lower back, with their fingertips touching the tailbone. Breathe deeply as they look up at the ceiling. Gradually lower their gaze to the floor, then look up at the ceiling again. Repeat three or more times as their eyes and the rest of their body relax.
– Holding these points improves attention, focus, motivation and intuition for decision-making.
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THINK OF AN X
Self Confidence and Control, Speed Reading

– Close their eyes and visualise the letter X. Notice how their vision is like the X – their eyes co-ordinate to connect left, right, upper and lower visual fields around a point of focus. Also notice the X-like symmetry and organisation within their own body, as each hip co-ordinates with each shoulder. Draw the X in the air in front with an extended finger on right hand. Draw the X in the air in front with an extended finger on left hand.
– The drawing of the X reinforces bilateral integration of the whole-brain and whole-body co-ordination for ease of thought, communication and performance.
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THE THINKING CAP
Public Speaking, Developing a Sense of Humour –
With one hand at the top of each ear, gently “unroll” the curved parts of the outer edges of both ears at the same time. Continue all the way to the bottom of the ears. Repeat three or more times.
– This activity helps the student tune out distracting noises. It increases listening ability, short-term memory and abstract thinking skills.