Although our MRI scan sessions can last up to one hour, we complete shorter, individual scan sequences. Scan sequences can last up to 10 minutes long. Therefore, to prepare for your MRI scan, we encourage participants to practice remaining still in 10-minute intervals. Between the 10-minute intervals, participants will have an opportunity to shift their body or scratch their nose. However, during the 10-minute intervals, participants will need to remain still and focus on the screen inside the scanner. This position allows researchers to contact high-quality images and data that can later be used in analyses. If participants move too much during the scan sequences, their images will likely become blurry and unusable. To help prepare for the MRI scan, we’ve created the following activities for participants to complete at home.

Reverse Freeze Tag

This version of freeze tag is a fun way to learn to keep still for an MRI.

  1. Gather a few friends together in an open space.
  2. An adult should be present to be the judge. If no adult can play, take turns being the judge.
  3. When the judge says “Go,” players should begin running around, making noise, and being as active as they can.
  4. The judge will then say, “Freeze!” Everyone should freeze immediately, no matter what position they are in. The judge then watches for any movement (even very small movements, like blinking or twitching). If the judge sees players moving, they are out.
  5. The last player in wins!

Nose to the Grindstone

The MRI can detect movements as small as a few millimeters. Cut out the box with the tiny five-millimeter circle above. The circle is your “grindstone.” Tape it to the wall and touch your nose to it. See how long you can “keep your nose to the grindstone” and not move even a little bit.

The Statue Game

  1. Lie on your back on the floor, a couch, or a bed, just like you will in the MRI scanner.
  2. Ask a friend or family member to place his or her fingertips on either side of your head, just above the tips of your ears.
  3. Ask your friend to let you know if you move (the other person can feel small movements with his or her hands more easily than you can feel them by yourself).
  4. Ask your friend to time you while you hold as still as a statue. First, try to keep still for one minute. Once you are able to do that, try for three minutes, five minutes, and 10 minutes. Color in the stars below for each time that you are able to hold still. Remember to give yourself “wiggle breaks” in between.