Short activities can be a great way to provide kids a break to refocus. Short, active breaks can also be a wonderful way to incorporate some much needed exercise into the day. Not only do activities give children the opportunity to blow off some steam, but a short break will allow them to come back to their desks ready to work. Short activities can also be great for birthday parties, picnics and other gatherings.

Fun Games

There are an infinite number of fun active games to use with groups of children. Musical chairs is a classic. Another game to try is "Wink." This game accommodates 16 to 30 children and involves having them first form a circle and then sit, all facing in one direction. Every second child is the catcher; these children are instructed to watch the backs of the children in front of them, who are the runners. The person in the center is the winker. Runners maintain eye contact with the winker and then the winker winks at a runner, the runner gets up as fast as possible trying to escape and must run a full lap. The catcher behind the winker must be alert and try to catch the runner.

Learning Through Matching

Cut out cardboard in the shapes of triangles, squares and circles. Cut five of each, at least 2 to 3 inches in size. Make a game of putting the shapes that are the same together. Another short activity is a game titled "Password." Choose two kids to be the contestants. The children then stand at the front of the room facing the other kids. Choose a secret word, revealing it to the children but not the contestants. The children then are asked to raise their hands to volunteer one-word clues while the contestants take turns calling on clue volunteers until one of the contestants correctly guesses the secret password. The contestant who guesses the password remains at the front of the class and the child who gave the final clue gets a the next turn at being the contestant.

Silly Games

Fill a large bag or basket with dressing up clothes and joke items like plastic glasses, clown noses and bow ties. Have the kids form a circle and give the bag to one child. Put on some silly music and have the kids hand the bag along until the music ends. Then whoever is left with the dress-up bag must reach in and pull out one article of clothing without looking and put it on.

Mystery Games

You can create a mystery for your group of children to solve, planting clues around the room for them to find with a prize for the child who solves the crime or riddle. Another option is to develop a short one-page story of a mystery to solve. Allow the children enough time to read the page and then challenge them to find solutions to the mystery. A mystery with more than one plausible answer allows children the ability to get their creative juices flowing and creates a wonderful opportunity to practice brainstorming.