“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” By Dr. Seuss
Brain Breaks are a great way to get kids up and moving around after doing an activity. They are under utilized in the classroom yet very important in the learning environment. An easy way to add them into your classroom is during transitions. Before doing the breaks make sure to set up rules and procedures so students understand what is expected of them before, during and after brain breaks. Depending on the activity my students are doing, sometimes I choose a break for them. For example, if we are doing an activity that was independent, then I do one that has lots of movement and talking such as four corners (see below for details). If we are finishing an activity where I need them to calm down and regroup, we do Yoga. Most of the time I let the students choose. There are different ways you can do this:
- Give them an option of two and vote
- Create a spinner with the different brain breaks
- Create a spinner or sticks with the students names, who-evers name gets picked, gets to choose
- Star Student, Line Leader etc get to choose.
- Create your own or use this roll a brain break chart
Below are some of my students favorite brain break: (*I use these with adults too during PD!)
1. Rock, Paper, Scissors King/Queen: Each participant picks a partner to play rock, paper scissor. Whoever is the ‘winner’ from the pair gets a groupie, the last two standing have a throw down crowning the winner.
2. Vocab Jaunt: Chose a vocabulary word and have the students find the letters around the room. The rule is you can touch the same wall back to back, you must do different walls.
3. Minute to win it: There are a lot of great brain break ideas from the game show ‘minute to win it’. Google it or check out Pinterest etc for some ideas.
4. 5-4-3-2-1: Choose a leader that will decided on five different movements in descending order, pausing between each one. Example: Do five jumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot three times, walk all the way around the classroom two times, give someone one high-five.
5. Plates: Give each student a paper plate. Students must walk around the room balancing the plates on their heads. If a student drops his or her plate, the student must freeze until another student picks it up and places it back on the student’s head (while keep his or her own plate in place, of course).
6. Dance Party/Yoga: Using Go Noodle (Great FREE site with lots of brain breaks) is a great way of saving spending hours on you tube etc to find the right kid friendly ones. They even have celebrities and popular songs such as Happy and Let it GO!
7. 4 Corners: Choose four different destinations such as states, cities, countries and have students choose where they would want to go on vacation and why with a partner in that corner. This gets students up and moving but also discussing possibly with classmates they don’t normal interact with. Ex: label one corner NYC and the others Orlando, LA and Denver. (This can be adapted to many other ways such as book titles, foods, colors etc)
8. Geometry Hustle: The teacher calls out a shape and the student collaborate to create that shape on the ground. Ex: If square s called, four students get together and create a square by laying on the ground. (*I have also done this with angles, example: make an acute angle)
Other Brain Break Resources:
Go Noodle (Also great for indoor recess)
You can also find a ton on Pinterest too. If you have a favorite brain break that wasn’t mentioned, please share in the comments. I love trying new ones!