If you’re not familiar with them, brain breaks are short activities that offer students a reprieve from routine learning activities. Not only are brain breaks fun, they’re a simple way to refocus students’ energy and get them back on track.
1. Crab Walk around the Room: Put on a song and have students walk in the crab position around the room. At some point, have students go in reverse.
2. Doodle Time: Give students some blank paper and markers and let them doodle and talk for five minutes.
3. Dance Party: Turn on the radio and let students dance until the song ends.
4. Tic-Tac-Toe: Give students some blank paper to play tic-tac-toe with a friend. It’s a simple game that won’t cause a mess or a distraction for your neighbors!
5. 50 Jumping Jacks: Get students’ heart rates up with this quick physical exercise.
6. Heads Up, 7-Up: Another classic that is easy and exciting for students!
7. Stretching: Choose a student to come up and lead a minute of stretching. Most students know various stretches from gym class and will enjoy leading their peers!
8. Pantomime: Choose a student to act out an activity without talking. The class must mimic the leader and then guess what the activity is (swimming, flying, sleeping, laughing, jogging, singing, etc.).
9. Mirror-Mirror: Have students pair up and mirror the actions of their partner. Students will get a kick out of this activity!
10. Thumb Wrestling: Have students choose a partner and participate in some old-fashioned thumb wrestling. Be sure to establish your expectations before this little brain break.
11. Rock, Paper, Scissors: Have students partner up for five rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winners get a high five from their partner.
12. Sky Writing: Have students “sky write” their ABCs, sight words, spelling words, or a secret message to their friend.
13. Air Band: Choose an "air" instrument and "rock out!" Drums, guitar, and saxophone are my personal favorites.
14. Silent Yoga: Strike a yoga pose and see how long your students can hold it. Google "Kid Yoga" for some easy examples.
15. Desk Switch: Give your students 10 seconds to grab their materials and find another desk to sit in. They will remain in this desk until the end of the lesson. There are two reasons we do this: First, it gets them moving; second, being in a different location often helps them see the environment in a new way.