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Brain breaks are 3 to 5-minute activities to energize children and help them concentrate on the lesson. These activities break the monotony of learning and will pave students to learn effectively without getting bored. In this blog, we will look into 55 effective brain breaks for kids and students. You will need a max of 5 minutes for each of these activities, but then they are definitely time well spent.
Three to five-year-old kids are bundles of boisterous energy. It is not practically possible to expect kindergarten kids to sit silently and follow the lesson for long. You can use brain breaks to channel the energy into positive pursuits. Let’s take a look at the brain break activities for kindergarten children.
Have you seen cheer waves in a sports stadium? Yes, you can use the same in your classroom. The students stand wave and sit in this activity. It goes on from one row to another till the students have formed a massive wave. You can make this activity more fun by getting them to chant something as they wave.
This brain breaks for kids will help burn out the excess energy. Ask the kids to stand and jump as high as they can as if they are jumping on a trampoline.
This brain break activity is both energetic and creative. Ask the kids to imagine that they are stirring a huge pot. You can tell them what ingredients to add to the pot as they stir or they can come up with things they want to add to the pot. Children will love this for sure.
Making X’s and O’s are fun ways to exercise and release muscle cramps. Ask children to make an “X” by lifting their hands over their heads and crossing them at the wrists. At the same time, ask them to cross their legs. Next, get them to make an “O” by clasping both their hands together and curling their arms into their chests.
When you find that the kids are feeling a little tired or cold, do this quick exercise. Ask kids to rub their palms vigorously till they feel warm and place the palms on the eyes.
Video Courtesy: Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel
A pattern clap is a great activity to celebrate an occasion. Teach a clap pattern – for example, clap once, clap twice fast, snap fingers, tap feet, and clap once. You can have variations of the clap pattern for different celebrations like a birthday, a job well done, or at the end of class hour.
This is a funny way to liven the class. Have the kids stand in a row and let them go down to a crouched position. Set a finish line and ask them to hop like a frog to the finish line.
This activity helps build team spirit and get children to enjoy together. Initially say “clap start” and the kids start clapping, suddenly say “Clap stop” and they need to stop clapping. Change the pace of the clap timing, so they stay interested. You can also play and stop music for the tandem clap activity.
This brain break activity helps remove kinks and cramps from the body. Throw a pencil on the floor and ask the child to jump over the pencil for a number of times. You can have one child do at a time or many students jump simultaneously.
Have you seen the touchdown dances the sportspersons do when they win a game? Each team has a unique touchdown dance. Similarly, you can create a touchdown dance for your students. Completed a lesson? Finished a test? Celebrate the occasion with a touchdown dance. Get creative with the dance sequences.
This exercise is an effective brain break as it works on the corpus callosum, which is a band of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain. Ask the children to stand up and lift the right leg. Ask them to touch the right knee with the left elbow and repeat the same with the other leg.
This brain breaks can help relax the children and dial down the boisterous energy. Ask the children to walk on their toes around the classroom. Silently or perhaps humming a tune. Once they are relatively calmer, you can start your lesson.
This game is played in twos. The children need to sit or stand facing each other. One child slaps the right hand to the left hand of his/her partner and says the first alphabet. The other child slaps the right hand to the left hand of the first child and says the next alphabet. You can have variations of this game where students say months, days, numbers, or lines of rhyme, one after the other.
Break the monotony of the classroom with a train dance. Arrange kids in a line with each child holding the shoulders of the other in front. Ask them to run around the class with a train’s sound. This activity can amp up the energy levels and help children vent out excess energy.
This brain break activity requires some space to move. So, clear the chairs and get the students to stand in a circle. Play music or clap hands and ask them to move in a circle. When the music/clap stops, the students need to form groups of three. One child needs to represent a house by lifting the hands above the head to form a triangle. The second child needs to stand with both arms stretched sidewise to represent a tree. The third child represents a rock by squatting on the floor.
There are many fun clapping games like Say, Say My Playmate, Patty Cake, or Boomerang Chilli Chilli where children need to sing a song and clap in a pattern. You can teach patterns, rhymes, and beats with this activity.
This Brain breaks for students encourages creative thinking. Ask a child to think of his/her favourite animal. He/she needs to either make a sound or act like the animal, and others have to identify the animal.
The middle school kids are at the age when they still have the innocence and outspokenness of the kindergarten and the seriousness of the teens. It is in this age that children learn and relate to their environment.
They may have more patience to sit in classes compared to KG kids. But then, it is important to have brain breaks once in a while to motivate and energize them.
Let’s take a look at the brain breaks for middle school kids.
It is a fun game to get the brain cells working. Children need to hold their left ear with their right hand and the nose with their left hand. Repeat with the other hand. The mix up of the hands will lead to hilarious results.
Sitting in the same position for a long time is neither good nor healthy. Get the kids to stand with feet a little apart from each other. Have them place the right hand on their hip and lift the left hand so that it is close to the left ear. Then ask them to bend toward the right as far as they can. Do the same for the other side. You can also ask them to do bends and stretches, either forward or backward. These stretching exercises relax the muscles and remove those cramps that come from sitting in a position for long.
This game helps improve concentration. Ask the kids to snap with their left fingers and wink their right eye. The next time, they can swap – snap with their right fingers and wink their left eye. You can have this quick brain break right at the start of the class to get the kids to focus.
A rain clap is a good activity to get the children’s attention. This break game will be effective in settling down kids after an energetic activity. The rain clap goes like this – ask them to tap the right index finger on the left palm. Then the second finger, third finger, fourth, and fifth finger, till they’re clapping. This point is the storm. Then slowly ask them to clap with four, three, two, and finally one finger, till it gets relatively less noisy. The rain has stopped. The class will be calm after this brain break. You can start your lessons.
Sometimes kids feel bored to work on the same kind of assignments and worksheets. Do something different this time. Instead of handing out worksheets to kids, fix them on the classroom walls.. Ask the kids to go round the class and find the right order of questions and answer them. Yes, the class may get a little noisy, but then the children will have more fun walking with the worksheet.
Get the energy levels up with a mixed sequence of 5 actions. For example, 1 – stand, 2 – push-ups, 3 – sit, 4- jump, 5 – squat. Call out the numbers in a random sequence and the children are supposed to do the associated action. It can be fun if the kids mix up the actions and the numbers. This brain break is more than physical activity. It helps build the mind-body coordination.
This partner game can bring fun into the classroom. Pair the kids and have them stand facing each other. Ask them to clap their right hands together as they touch the left toes together at the same time. Switch the side and repeat it. This fun brain break helps blow away the cobwebs, so the children are fresh for the next part of the lesson.
Facial gymnastic exercises increase blood flow towards the head and help reduce tension. Just doing a few facial gymnastics can lower the stress levels, and help kids to focus on learning.. Have kids raise and lower their eyebrows, make funny faces, tongue outs, smile, frown and other facial gymnastics in rapid succession in just under 30 seconds.
It’s a great game to build vocabulary and teach spelling. One student tells a word and the next student tells another word that starts with the last letter of the first word. The game goes on till one student wins or till your break time runs out.
Research has shown that children need to work on some task that allows their mind to wander. One such task is doodling. Give the kids a 5-minute break and ask them to doodle something on a sheet of paper. This activity also encourages creativity and innovative thinking.
This fun brain break helps change the pace of activity in the classroom and allows kids to release some of the pent up energy. Call a child to the front of the classroom and ask him/her to face the class. Write a number on the blackboard such that the student at the front is not able to see. The student needs to call out a number at random. If the number on the blackboard is higher, the other children have to jump. But, if the number is lower, they should squat. This goes on till the student finds the number.
Take a break from serious learning to watch an interesting and informative video. There are many animated videos of stories, songs, histories, sports, and lot more that you can show the children. This teaching aid acts both as a brain break and a subconscious learning tool.
Are the children tired of sitting for a long time? Then, this activity can get them energetic again. If you have a skipping rope, you can ask two kids to hold the edges and two or three children to skip over the rope. Don’t have a skipping rope? Pretend to play the same without a rope. It will also help children focus on their steps and the other person at the same time.
This is a quick brain break activity that will help students to learn about communication, decision making, and innovative thinking. You make a statement. For example, “There are no spiders in Antarctica.” If the students think that the statement is true, they say “True.” Else, you give them an activity that everyone should do. Let the students to discuss it with others to give right answers..
This activity can help remove those kinks that come from sitting for a long time in the same position. Ask the children to stand up and twist their bodies in all possible shapes.
Ask children to stand in a circle. Play music and ask them to pass the ball around. Stop the music and the child holding the ball is “out”. The others need to give him/her a task to do. Once done, the child moves out of the circle and the game continues till there is one left.
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You can also use this activity as a part of your teaching plan. For example, when a child is out, you can ask him/her to recite a poem that they learned in the previous class. Or, you can ask the child to describe the experiment that they recently worked on. It helps children reflect and remember their learning.
In a typical class, students will have besties and favourites. There will also be loners who don’t mingle with other students. Help children learn social skills and communication with this interesting activity. Partner children, preferably those who aren’t friends. Each student should have an already prepared list of questions that they need to ask their partner. Once the kids are paired, ask them to walk around the class or the school playground and ask questions to each other.
Have an interesting brain break in the middle of a classroom session with Rock Paper Scissors game. Have all the students stand in a circle and play this game till one student wins.
Also Read: 50 Math Riddles For Kids with Answers
This brain break is a fun learning activity. You need to prepare cards with a word and its opposite beforehand. Distribute the cards to the students. Students need to ask around till they match the word with the opposite. You can also do it for synonyms, idioms and meanings, parts of body and their functions, chemical formula and their full names, and so on.
Give your kids a brain break by playing the classic tic tac toe game. You can draw the squares on the blackboard and get two kids to come forward and play the game.
This activity can help to identify leadership qualities. Ask one child to come forward. He/she needs to do some actions and get the rest of the class to copy his/her actions. Who’s able to get the others to copy the actions?
Ask open ended questions and see the kind of interesting answers that you get.
This activity encourages creative thinking and also helps build communication skills as children learn to express themselves.
The high school teens standing at the cusp of adulthood need a fine blend of freedom and dependency. The kids are at a critical point in their lives to work on their life goals and aspirations. At the same time, they will have many distractions that could lead them astray.
That’s why it is essential to have activities that help relieve their mental stress, calm their minds, and help them focus on the most important things in their lives. The brain break activities for high school kids are more focussed on calming the mind than expelling the energy.
Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Get your high school students concentrate better by learning to focus on their breath. This traditional practise helps to reduce unnecessary thoughts and bring the mind’s focus to one point. Ask children to sit comfortably, close their eyes, and focus on their breath. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.
It’s another activity to calm the mind and help students concentrate. Ask students to close their eyes and sit silently. Ring a chime or a gong at periodic intervals. The students can do this for about five minutes. It will be especially helpful to relax and calm the mind before a test or an exam.
High school students are expected to sit for long hours. It can cramp the muscles and also make them feel lethargic. Have them do some cross-body exercises that relax the muscles and chase the lethargy away. Exercises can be a combination of yoga and aerobics.
Get the creative juices flowing by encouraging students to learn a new language or perhaps come up with a new language (sign or verbal language.) Every class hour, you can spend 5 to 10 minutes with the new language.
Yoga is a traditional practice that simultaneously calms and energizes the mind and the body. You can have the students do a few simple yoga asanas in the classroom. It will stimulate their nervous system and help them focus better on the lessons.
It may sound simple, but it is not. Ask students to just sit for two minutes doing nothing. Initially, they may fidget, giggle, laugh or talk. But after a few sessions, they will learn to appreciate the silence. This break gives rest to the brain for a few minutes. So, when you start the lesson, the brain will be very receptive.
“Video Tutorial For Some Free Style Dancing For Kids”
If you feel that students are bored and tired, get them moving with a 1-minute freestyle dance. No rules and no steps to practise, just ask them to dance from their heart. The activity will release their tension and make them feel relaxed and energetic.
This brain breaks will help to increase the energy levels of students. Get them to do a few chair aerobic exercises. The muscles will stretch and the blood circulation will get going. It will help remove the lethargic feeling and energize them.
Pair up students and give them one minute. In that one minute, they need to find out as much as possible about the other person by asking questions. This activity will be perfect for the first day of school or semester when most of the students don’t know each other. It also helps to build communication and social skills.
It’s another pair activity where one person does some actions and the other person mirrors it. For example, if one person waves the right hand, the person standing opposite waves the left hand. This activity helps build left brain right brain coordination and strengthen mind-body coordination.
Take a break from the lessons and have a mime activity. It can be planned or on-the-spot. Come up with concepts that focus on society, ideologies, beliefs, and such. Let children prepare the dialogues and act out the mime. This activity encourages creativity, innovative thinking, communication and theatre arts.
Take a break from serious learning to have this fun activity. Ask each child to write a question on a piece of paper. They can then crumple the paper into a snowball or make an airplane with it. One by one the students throw the snowball into the air. The person on whom the paper lands need to answer the question. Watch out for some comical, introspective, and embarrassing questions!
In this brain break game, students come up with a creative story based on a cue line that you give. You need to say the first sentence. The first student then builds on the sentence. The next student continues the story by adding another sentence. And it goes on till all the students add a sentence each to build a story. This activity aids creative and innovative thinking. It also builds communication skills.
Give students a break from continuous learning with this interesting activity. Ask a student to come forward and face the class. Write the name of a famous personality on the blackboard, which the participant should not see.. The participant needs to identify the personality by asking questions for which the other students only reply “Yes” or “No”. This activity helps children develop their general knowledge.
It’s a fun game that underlines the importance of effective communication. Whisper a sentence in one student’s ear. The first student then whispers what he/she heard, to the next student. This goes on till the last student in the class. The last student then tells the sentence aloud. It will definitely be different from what was whispered first. Play this game to break the monotony in the classroom.
This brain breaks require some space to move and about 10 students. Get about 7 to 8 students to stand in a circle holding each other’s hands.
Ask the tenth student to stand outside the classroom. Now, get the ninth student to make a knot in the circle. It can be done by making the students standing in a circle move in and out of the circle without unclasping hands.
Now call the tenth student in and ask him/her to unravel the knot. This activity helps build the team spirit and at the same time makes kids feel happy and energetic.
Effective teaching is about making most of the child’s focus and attention and helping them learn. This fun and interesting brain breaks not just liven up the class, but also stimulate the brain. Try these brain breaks in your class and you will be sure to see a good improvement in the learning.
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