Keeping Brains Active this Winter Gives Students Boost (Guest Post)

by Larry Mager Teaching

Keeping Brains Active this Winter

Ed. note: This is a guest post by Larry Mager of, for educators, teachers, and families. 

Keeping Brains Active this Winter Gives Students Boost

With winter and the holidays closing in, it’s easy for students to check out mentally. It can be especially hard for them to shake off the sloth of holiday breaks when it’s cold and dreary outside.

This makes it challenging to find new ways to spark interest and motivate students. But sometimes even the smallest tweaks to a lesson plan are an opportunity to help students break out of a winter rut and work on their mental fitness. In an effort to help, here are some great classroom activities to boost motivation and interest when the weather starts to take a toll.

First, Get Moving

One of the best ways to get their attention and to keep them alert is to have your students start moving! Getting out their seats and up from their desks is a great way to get the blood pumping and pushes them to be more engaged. Play music, take a walk, do silly calisthenics. Anything that gets them moving will help wake up their brains. An active body makes for an active brain.

Strategy Games

There are plenty of great apps and strategy games your students can use if your classroom has tablets. These games can be great for critical thinking, hand-eye coordination, focus, and mental dexterity. However, a better way to incorporate games in the classroom is through interactive play. Card games (think poker), board games, role-playing games, these are all great activities that will provide mental fitness for your students. Consider finding ways to incorporate a current lesson plan into some of these games, which can help you double down on what they are learning.

Games of Trivia

Trivia games are a great way to test your students’ knowledge and to get them thinking.Trivia games can be applied to all subjects, even P.E.! Plan for a trivia game that will be challenging yet rewarding. To add extra motivation, consider “prizes” for winners. Trivia games can be played in a variety of groupings, so break up the classroom or try playing as a whole. Either way, this type of activity is perfect for helping students shake off the blahs and engage.

Games of Memory

Memory games are another way to engage your students and get their gears turning. Memory games are beneficial in that they help improve concentration, boost brain activity, and help short-term memory. Memory games are also great practice for students who need extra help improving their memory skills. And memory games can be used in a variety of subjects and with all sorts of age groups.

Games of the Season

If you have snow on your hands, the landscape can lend itself to many different types of engaging activities that allow you to incorporate science, math, English, or the arts. Alternatively, try to find outdoor games that will get students moving and give them a close-up and more interesting perspective on the wonders of snow.

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are a great way to combine movement, critical thinking, and teamwork. You can expand scavenger hunts outside of the classroom, too, so consider using more of the building or get the students into the great outdoors.

Winter Crafts

If it’s too cold to go outside and your students need something a little more low-key, crafts are a great way to engage your students and help them explore their creative side. There are a wealth of craft activities to choose from online, and this can be a great activity to incorporate into a lesson plan prior to a holiday break, when kids are most distracted and unable to focus on schoolwork.

(Featured Image by PeteLinforth, via Pixabay)

About the Author

Larry Mager