Are you looking for ideas and tools to use to help break up the day and give your students well-deserved mental breaks throughout the day? You’re in luck! Here are 16 exciting brain break games and more for your students that are quick and easy to implement.
Brain Breaks Benefits
According to Brain Balance, a second grader’s attention span ranges from 14-24 minutes. Yep, that means the average time that your students should be able to maintain focus is just 2-3 times their age.
Thankfully the days are long gone where we expect our 7-year-old students to sit still at their desks all day long. We are growing in our knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices and adjusting the way we teach.
Brain Breaks are quick (and oftentimes planned) activities that give students a mental reset. They do not take up a lot of instructional time, yet provide your class with many benefits.
Giving students brain breaks can help to:
- Increase engagement
- Reduce Stress
- Enhance focus and mood
- Promote healthy habits
- Improve cognitive skills
- Encourage social-emotional growth
Brain Break Games
Breaks can range from a quick 5-minute structured game to dances, to deep breathing techniques. Let’s start with some of my favorite brain break games!
Simon Says likely doesn’t need an introduction. This timeless favorite is a quick brain-break game guaranteed to get everyone involved.
Tip! I like to be Simon so I can get the whole class up and moving before I try to get them “out”.
Freeze Dance is always a fan favorite in my class. I turn on some popular Kidz Bop songs and have everyone free dance until the music stops. After freezing, they try to hold the statue pose until the music turns back on.
Find Someone Who
If you have an extra chatty class, they will appreciate the chance to play “Find Someone Who” . I typically put up a prompt on the board and students have to walk around asking their classmates questions until they find someone who matches the description. It’s a great way to build social skills and strengthen your classroom environment as well!
Examples of Prompts:
- Find someone who has the same favorite sport as you
- Find someone who has the same amount of siblings as you
- Find someone who has the same favorite classroom subject
If you are looking for a slightly quieter and more structured game, a round of “4-corners” is a great way to get your kids up and moving. All you need to do is to number your corners and find one die to roll. Bonus points if it’s a large die!
Then, have the students choose a corner and roll the die. If you roll their number (1-4), everyone in that corner has to go sit down. Keep playing until there is one student left.
YouTube Channels and Videos for Brain Breaks in the Classroom
There are so many fun YouTube channels that are dedicated just for brain breaks in the classroom. Here are some of the best!
The Learning Station
The Learning Station channel has some great options for younger students. “Move with Me” is a great choice as it tells students exactly what to do so it’s great for getting even your shyest students up and moving!
Kiboomer channel has a plethora of different brain breaks and learning songs that are best for preschoolers and kindergarteners. The “Party Freeze Dance” song is a great option if you want to remove yourself from the freeze dance game (meaning you won’t have to be the one starting and stopping the music).
Plus, it tells the students which movement they should be doing to help some of the embarrassment that some kids feel around free dancing.
P.E. with Mr. G
P.E. with Mr. G is such a fun brain-break exercise channel for all ages. He makes the students feel as if they are playing different video games with some of their favorite characters. Many of the videos have kids running, ducking, jumping, and dodging as they race to the finish lines.
Pancake Manor is a great choice if you are looking for a fun themed brain break in the elementary classroom. They use fun puppets and have videos around Halloween, Christmas, seasons, and other educational topics. If you are looking for a fun one that everyone will love, “Shake Break” is a winner!
Super Simple Songs
As the name suggests, Super Simple Songs YouTube channel is your one-stop-shop for all your favorite classics. They use cute cartoon characters to engage all the students! Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is a great structured brain break!
For those of you who teach upper elementary school, Kidz Bop brain breaks are always a favorite. They remix all of the most popular songs in a kid-friendly way. Your class will be up singing and dancing in no time. “Make Some Noise” is a great dance-along brain break!
Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel
Although Jack Hartmann does have some songs that are solely meant to be fun, most are great learning supplements as well. My all-time favorite from Jack Hartman is the ‘Tooty Ta’ song. It’s great for brain breaks and for sound substitution to build phonemic awareness!
On his YouTube channel, you’ll also find songs about money, counting, spelling, and more!
Fix and Play
Fix and Play is wonderful for when you want to switch up your dancing/singing brain breaks. This YouTube channel features a mixture of games including “Would You Rather”, “What is this?” and “Do You Remember”. All the games do a wonderful job of allowing your students to use their brains AND get some wiggles out.
Similarly to the Fix and Play channel, UJU Videos have a wide variety of different games that can be used as quick and structured brain breaks. My classes always love doing the themed 4 corner games.
Websites for Elementary Brain Breaks
Some Schools have YouTube blocked or do not allow the use of the website due to the inability to block all advertisements (you never know what might pop up, unfortunately).
Thankfully, there are some great websites that are dedicated solely to brain breaks for kids!
I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like GoNoodle. Although you do need to make an account to access all the videos, it is free and easy to do so. Once inside, you’ll find so many helpful and fun videos.
There are sections dedicated solely to dancing, stretching, and singing, and others that can be used as supplements to your instruction time!
Cosmic Kids is a subscription based website that gives you complete access to all the Cosmic Kids videos completely ad-free. You can become a member for just $65 a year. If not interested in paying, you can still find most videos for free with ads!
Cosmic Kids has a large selection of engaging Yoga videos that are meant to inspire movement and mindfulness.
Move to Learn
Move to Learn is a wonderful website with a collection of different brain break videos. The videos are broken up by age group, so there is something for every classroom! There are even lesson plans and printable activities included on the website!
Brain Breaks for your Students Recap
There are so many fun YouTube channels, games, and websites at our fingertips that are jam-packed with exciting brain breaks for our students. After implementing structured brain breaks throughout the day, you’ll quickly begin to see the benefits.
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