Try these fun brain break ideas to help active kids stay focused and learn at their best. Brain break activities are great for incorporating movement into your day in and out of the elementary classroom.
Brain Break Ideas for Active Kids In and Out of the Classroom
Activity brain breaks serve an important purpose in and out of the classroom. School is hard work for kids. We expect them to cram so much into each day, learning a ton of information that they need to retain and put into practice. It can be exhausting. Brain breaks allow kids to take a minute to refocus and release some energy.
Homelife needs active time too. Kids should have opportunities to be kids through active play, movement, and games throughout the day and on weekends.
Moving around, even if it’s just stretching, gives the body a boost by increasing blood flow. In turn, this provides the brain with increased blood flow, which gives kids the edge they need to help retain information and stay focused. By taking a break and moving around, kids receive a necessary tool they need to succeed in and out of the classroom.
Educational Brain Break Ideas
Brain breaks should be breaks from whatever the class is currently working on… but just because it’s a break, doesn’t mean it can’t be educational! These educational brain break ideas give kids the chance to move around and have fun with their classmates, families, and friends, as they practice a skill they’ve already learned. From spelling words to skip counting, these educational brain break ideas will quickly become favorites for the classroom and beyond.
- Air Spelling – Challenge kids to “air write” their spelling words or sight words with a partner. Their partner will need to guess which word they’re writing!
- Categories – Name a category, and each kid has to name a word that fits in that category. For example, if the category is “beach,” then they could say words like sand, ocean, umbrella, etc.
- Pop – To practice skip counting during a brain break, have kids line up for a game of Pop! Pick a magic number, then have each child takes a turn counting, with the word POP replacing multiples of the magic number. If skip counting by 3s, the line would count 1-2-POP-4-5-POP.
- Sparkle – When waiting in line to go to lunch or specials, play a game of Sparkle. Kids will need to spell a sight word or spelling word one letter at a time. After the last letter, the next person in line shouts, “Sparkle!”
- Syllable Clap – Kids love chatting with their friends, so direct that energy to something educational. Have kids turn and talk to a friend, but while chatting, they need to clap (or stomp) the syllables of the words they say. They can also do this brain break activity with spelling words.
Brain Breaks Games
Kids love playing games. Games give kids the chance to take a moment and simply have fun. Even though it may seem like these games don’t have a purpose, they truly do. Their goal is to get kids moving and having fun! Whether it’s a game of Telephone or Rock-Paper-Scissors, these games will give kids a moment of freedom as they play with partners or as a whole group.
- Freeze Dance – This game is like freeze tag, and musical chairs rolled into a single fun game! Turn on the music and have kids dance around the room. When you turn the music off, kids must freeze in whatever dance move they were doing. Anyone who moves in the silence is out. Continue playing until there is a winner.
- Hot Potato – Use a beanbag and have kids toss it around the room as the music plays. When the music stops, whoever is left holding the “potato” is out!
- Rock-Paper-Scissors – Depending on how long the brain break is, kids can play a game or two of Rock-Paper-Scissors. If there’s only a short amount of time, kids can partner up for a few quick rounds. If there’s more time, get the class involved in a tournament!
- Simon Says – This classic game makes a great brain break! Kids will need to pay attention as they attempt to do what Simon says.
- Telephone – Have the class stand up and make a circle around the classroom. Whisper a phrase into the ear of the first child. Then, have that child repeat the phrase to whoever is next to them. This continues around the circle. The last child will repeat the phrase out loud. Kids will laugh as they see how the message was changed.
- Would You Rather – Designate two sides of the classroom as the answer spaces, such as by the teacher’s desk is option one and by the whiteboard is option two. Then, call out different “Would you rather…” options for kids to choose from! You can also draw names and have kids call out their own options.
Movement Brain Breaks
Movement is vital when it comes to brain breaks. Moving the body helps relieve stress. Movement, in turn, will give kids a release that allows them to get back to work and refocus. These brain break ideas use movement to engage kids. From secret handshakes to dance parties, kids will love participating in these activities.
- Activity Cards – Any time a brain break is needed, pull out a brain break activity card, and complete the task on it! This gives kids variety and different ways to move as they transition to another activity.
- Dance Party – When brains need breaks, nothing beats a turning on a song and having a dance party. Have kids choose which song to play and let them move around and dance for the entire song. This carefree brain break activity will be a classroom favorite.
- Go Noodle – This website gives kids a fun and silly way to work out the wiggles! Kids will love jumping, moving, and singing along to their favorite Go Noodle videos. You can stream the videos on Youtube or on your SmartTV.
- Secret Handshakes – Either make up a secret class handshake or have kids partner up and make small group secret handshakes. For the rest of the week, when the class needs a moment to break, have them turn to a partner and do their secret handshake!
- Yoga – Classroom yoga will give kids the break they need in between tasks. Encourage kids to be mindful as they move through favorite yoga poses in a group setting. Cosmic Kids Yoga is a favorite Youtube channel with tons of themed yoga videos kids will enjoy!
These brain break ideas for kids are perfect for the classroom. Kids will move and dance around as they get ready for the next activity. By using these brain breaks, kids will focus better, stay engaged while learning, and have fun!
Brain Break Resources
Break Break Cards
These brain break cards offer a ton of fun, simple ideas ready for you on printable cards! Just print a set, attach to a ring, and hang ready for when your class needs a break.
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