If you have never used brain break activities in your classroom, here is your sign to try them! Not only are they fun, but they also provide plenty of benefits to attention and academic success. Check out how they can be used effectively in any classroom setting.
How to Make Your Classroom a Success with Brain Breaks
Brain breaks are an essential piece of a classroom management plan and dynamics. They help re-center students when the trains start coming off the tracks. Kids need fun ways to get their energy out and can’t focus on academic work for too long without a break. Brain breaks are the solution!
This post provides helpful, engaging, and fun brain break activities for all kids. They will give the kids something to look forward to between math and literacy subjects. Sure, they’re fun and silly, but there’s a reason why teachers add them to their daily routines. Let’s learn why together!
Table of Contents
- How to Make Your Classroom a Success with Brain Breaks
- Benefits of Using Brain Breaks
- Brain Breaks to Use in the Classroom
- Tips for Implementing Brain Breaks
- Use Brain Breaks to Help With Your Classroom Routine
- More Brain Break Ideas for Students
What are Brain Breaks, and Why Are They Useful?
Brain breaks are super short activities that allow kids to take their focus off the rigor of the day. They include dancing videos, ways to get active, exciting riddles, stretches, meditation, and more. They allow the mind to relax and refocus after the activity is over.
Picture a classroom full of students working hard on their daily writing tasks. The room is quiet, but some kids are zoned out, one has their eyes closed, and a handful are getting antsy and squirming around in their seats. It’s time for a brief brain break. The kids get up, move for 2 to 3 minutes, and then return to work. Their focus is back, and they are ready to write.
If you have outdoor recess or assemblies in the gym, it might be a good idea to use a brain break to invite kids back to the classroom. Use a calming classroom brain break like yoga, stretching, or breathing to cool down after some activity. Once kids have slowed their heart rate, they can work on the task.
Benefits of Using Brain Breaks
There are many benefits to using brain break activities in the classroom!
Here are just a few:
- Improved Focus and Attention – Once students can turn their brains off and have a little fun, they can return to work on their academic tasks. They will be able to pay attention better because they will know a break is coming at some point so they can rest.
- Enhanced Learning and Retention – By implementing brain breaks, you offer students short bursts of learning with some movement or activities in the middle. They will retain the information taught because it will be given in smaller chunks throughout the day instead of one big lesson.
- Physical and Mental Health Benefits – We all know that a sedentary lifestyle comes with plenty of adverse side effects. Encouraging students to get up and moving every so often develops healthy habits for life.
- Creating a Positive Classroom Environment – A positive classroom environment comes with elements of fun and routine. Adding brain breaks to the routine and getting into them yourself will foster community, friendships, and positive energy.
Brain Breaks to Use in the Classroom
There are tons of great brain-break ideas online, but having some go-tos in your back pocket will help for quick transitions.
Here is a brief list of brain breaks kids will love!
Movement Brain Breaks
These activities get kids up and moving to get some energy out. You’ll likely need kids to stand by their desks or gather on the carpet.
- Run a Race – Head outside and pair up students for a quick race.
- Hop Scotch – Use tape or chalk to create a hopscotch outline and let kids hop on it for a few minutes.
- Hula Hoop – Break out the hula hoops and invite kids to practice their skills.
- Balance Break – Work on balancing on one foot or other balance skills!
- Dance Party – Play the kid’s favorite tune and dance away.
These are great during transitions or when you need something that won’t take more than 5 minutes.
- Stretch it Out – Stretch your body side to side for a few minutes.
- Clap Together – Clap a rhythm and have the kids copy you or designate a student as the leader.
- Crossing the Midline – Have students touch the opposite side of their body (toes, elbows, hands, etc.)
Try some fun games as a whole group activity with kids! These are sure to be favorites and great activities when they are done packing up and waiting for their bus or car.
- I Spy Game – Give one child the leader task and have them choose objects around the room for others to spot.
- Follow the Leader – Choose a student to lead the class around the room in a copycat game.
- Simon Says – Everyone knows this classic, and kids still love it!
- Heads-Up Seven-Up – Have kids put their heads down and thumbs up as a few students go around the room, pressing a thumb down. Then, kids guess who pushed their thumb down!
- Stand up, sit down – Kids start by sitting down. Pull a card, and they either stand up or sit down based on their answer to the card. It’s a great way to introduce opinion as well!
- Act it out – Kids draw a card and act out what’s on it. The rest of the group has to guess what they are acting out.
These activities are perfect for a quick brain break and allow kids to work together.
- Tell a Joke – Kids find a partner and tell their favorite joke.
- Share Sunshine – This can be inside or outside! Have kids share something great with a friend.
- Find a Friend – Kids find a friend with something in common that day (clothes, lunch items, favorite color, etc.).
- Celebrate Today – Tell a friend the best part of your day!
These are just some of the fun brain break ideas included in the Brain Breaks Resource! There are 80 brain break idea cards to choose from plus editable options to add your own!
Tips for Implementing Brain Breaks
Brain breaks are pretty simple to add to any part of the day, but if you need help, this may give you some ideas!
- Scheduling Brain Breaks Throughout the Day – Add brain breaks into your schedule and put schedule cards on the board to indicate when gaps will occur. This gives students an idea of what’s coming next and how long they will work on a task.
- Observing Engagement – As you get to know your class, you will know which times of day are best for brain breaks. You might see that they need a break in the middle of math or when they return from lunch!
- Adapting Brain Breaks to Individual Needs – Some students may need a break every ten minutes to stay focused. Let them draw physical activity cards so they can get up and stretch or hop for a minute or two before completing their tasks.
- Encouraging Participation and Inclusivity – Choose tasks and activities your whole group can engage in. If there are any that don’t work for specific children, help them out or keep those out of the pile. Encourage all kids to try them, even if their favorite card isn’t drawn.
Brain break cards should be available to students at all times. If you have a calm-down corner, the brain break cards serve a fantastic purpose for helping students regulate their bodies throughout the day. Just print them off and keep them in drawers or containers for students to access when they need a moment.
Use Brain Breaks to Help With Your Classroom Routine
12 FREE brain break activities
Try some of the activities mentioned above in your classroom with this FREE 12-card Brain Break freebie! Use these to implement brain break options throughout the day.
Click the image below to grab a copy.
Brain Breaks for Elementary School
Try the Brain Break Resource by Proud to be Primary! It includes 80 activity cards, varying from movement to yoga to games, two sets of group game cards, a variety of card sizes, and materials to create a dedicated area in your room to store the materials.
There’s a little of something for every student, and they can easily be adapted to any classroom. They make transitions and learning FUN!
More Brain Break Ideas for Students
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