Stuck Inside: Youth Edition, Episode 9 - Take a Brain Break!

The youth team presents its ninth edition of Stuck Inside, a weekly blog featuring ideas and activities for kids of all ages to stay engaged while staying home. This week, we’re sharing activities that stretch and engage your brain!
Tailor Dolgin Tailor Dolgin
Youth Field Coordinator
May 24, 2020
Stuck Inside: Youth Edition, Episode 9 - Take a Brain Break!
Explorers members journal on a hike. Photo by Jule Gust.

Welcome back! Each week, The Mountaineers youth team is sharing ideas and activities for kids of all ages to stay engaged while also staying home and safe. Last week's Stuck Inside offered up some ideas to keep your body active while at home. This week, we are sharing some ways to keep your mind active too!

Here are some of our favorite ways to exercise our brains at home!


Grab a notebook, pen, or pencil, and find a quiet spot to write. We recommend sitting in the sun and getting comfortable before you begin writing. Whether you’re looking for a daily prompt, writing your own stories, or keeping a daily list of the things you’ve learned or experienced, journaling is a great way to keep your brain engaged. Our favorite prompt right now is: If you could ride any animal into battle what would it be? What would you be fighting for or against?


If you’ve ever been to summer camp, chances are you’ve spent time trying to solve a riddle or two. Here are some of our favorites for you to try out and teach your family at home. Answers will be posted in next week’s episode of Stuck Inside! 

  • The Green Glass Door: Some things can pass through the Green Glass Door and others cannot. Your task is to determine what things can and cannot pass through. Examples to get you started: Wood can pass through, but sticks cannot. Trees can pass through, but branches cannot. A fleece can pass through, but a jacket cannot. 
  • I Like Coffee But Not T(EA): Just like the Green Glass Door, this game is about words. Your task is to figure out what I like and what I don’t. Examples to get you started: I like recycling, but I don’t like trash. I like branches and pine cones, but not trees. I like dogs and puppies, but not cats and kittens. 
  • Riddle 1: Which is heavier, a pound of feathers or a pound of rocks? 
  • Riddle 2: You’re driving a bus. At the first stop three kids and a woman get on. At the second stop two kids get off and a man gets on. The bus is blue and it is raining outside in December. What color is the bus driver’s hair? 
  • Riddle 3: A man is walking through the rain without a jacket or an umbrella. He gets soaked, but not a single hair on his head is wet. How can this be?


Challenge yourself to an outdoor-oriented word search by seeing if you can find all of the words in this online puzzle. There are plenty of similar puzzles to be found online or see if you can make up one of your own!


Try putting together a haiku or a limerick about the last hike or walk you went on. Think about things that stood out to you using all five senses. What did you see, feel, taste, touch, smell on your hike? Maybe the sun was shining and you could smell flowers or it was raining and you could feel water squelch in your shoes. How would you write that experience into a poem?

Here are a couple of examples courtesy of Hannah Tennent, our Gear Library Coordinator:

After these riddles
My brain hurts and I want some
Chocolate ice cream.

Sitting near that tree
Its flowers blooming towards the
Ground, the bugs, and me.


See if you can say these tongue twisters. A few of them are classic, and a few of them threw us for a loop! Can you make it through all of them? 

  • Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he? 
  • She sells seashells by the sea shore. 
  • If two witches would watch two watches, which witch would watch which watch? 
  • Betty Botter had some butter, “But,” she said, “this butter's bitter. If I bake this bitter butter, it would make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter – that would make my batter better.” So she bought a bit of butter, better than her bitter butter, and she baked it in her batter, and the batter was not bitter. So 'twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.


What other activities do you do to keep your mind active? Do you have other riddles or tongue twisters mastered? Share them with us in the comments!


My favorite part of my stay-at-home routine has been my daily journal entries. I'm taking part in a project called "The Isolation Journals" and have been receiving daily prompts to write about. Writing has been a great way to think about my days and log all of my thoughts and feelings so I can remember what I've done during the pandemic and what I'm looking forward to doing when we can start adventuring again. I've also spent time playing Banana-Grams and Scategories with my roommates to keep my brain active and engaged. 

T Dolgs for Stuck Inside.jpg

Stay safe, have fun, be joyful! see you next week.


The Mountaineers is committed to bringing outdoor experiences to today's youth through our outdoor youth and family programs. We introduce young people to the benefits of outdoor experiences: a healthy lifestyle, outdoor recreation skills, perseverance, self-confidence, self-reliance, an appreciation for the natural world, and a commitment to protecting outdoor spaces. We offer year-round clubs, break and summer camps, outreach programs through Mountain Workshops, a youth gear lending library and even programs for our smallest members: Mini Mountaineers. Learn more about the programs we offer.

Learn more about Tailor and the Explorers and Pioneers Programs.

Check out all Stuck Inside blogs for more ideas!

Main Image: Explorers members journal on a hike. Photo by Jule Gust.

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