Using Brain Breaks In the Classroom

By: Jennifer Larson

Sun Aug 18 2019

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You can find lots of research that clearly shows that brain breaks increase academic achievement, help with concentration, boost on-task behavior, improve student attitudes...but actually, you can walk into any elementary classroom, on any day and see for yourself.

Kids need brain breaks like teachers need chocolate...every day...the more often, the better.

1. Frequency of Brain Breaks

Researchers support the idea that kids do better in school overall, if they are given frequent brain breaks.

In fact, research shows that ideally, kids should have a brain break every 25 - 30 minutes. Of course this time would vary depending upon the age of the kids (younger kids need them more often, while older kids might be able to wait until 45 minutes, in my opinion), as well as the type of activity in which the kids are involved.

Kids sitting quietly in their desks might need a more frequent brain break than those on the floor, working in teams. The most important thing to remember though, is to keep those brain breaks coming!

 

2. Types of Brain Breaks

I like to vary the types of brain breaks I give my students. One of the things I love to use are the Brain Breaks Task Cards that I've created because there are over 250 ideas included, all of which are fast and easy (as well as fun).

These task cards make coming up with a brain break idea a no-brainer...and we all need no brainers on some days! 

3. Make Sure the Brain Break is ACTIVE!

Whatever brain break we use, I want to make sure that it allows my kids to stand up, move around, and get rid of some of their wiggles.

Here are some ideas we use in our classroom:

  • Simple Games: Simon Says, Four Corners, Find the Color...
  • Music/Dance: Limbo (use a broomstick), Freeze Dance...
  • Move Around the Room Like...: Creative types of movement (e.g. Like you are walking on ice)
  • Yoga: Poses
  • Exercises: Give me Ten (do ten of each type)...

4. Try Using Go Noodle or YouTube/Teacher Tube Kid's Sites

There are lots of awesome dance/movement types of brain breaks on these websites. The best thing, besides the fact that it will really add to your collection of brain breaks, is that they're free!

5. Need More Proof?

Maybe it's because I have a psychology background (my BA before an education MA), but I really like seeing any kind of brain research.

Here's an awesome pin that shows how a simple 20 minute walk activates and stimulates the brain. We may not have 20 minutes to devote to a brain break, but I think we can safely say that a shorter one is still very beneficial.

Brain breaks increase oxygen and energy flow to the brain, which helps reduce kid's stress levels and helps them to re-focus.

 

6. Benefits of Brain Breaks

Giving kids the frequent brain breaks they need, will increase the productivity and focus in your classroom. Want better behavior? It'll help that too. Like it when kids have happy attitudes? It's good for that too.

The time you spend on a 5 minute brain break is a wise investment. You will get back that time ten-fold in the amount of focus your kids can expend, after refreshing their little minds and bodies.

If you've ever sat through a long teacher meeting or a particularly boring inservice (not that our teaching is anything like that, but you get the idea), you might be able to relate to a child that just needs to move a bit, before trying to concentrate again.

 

 

 

Want a FREE set of 12 Brain Breaks? Click HERE:

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Here is one of my favorite resources! It's a set of 100 task cards with over 250 fun activities that students will ask for by name! 

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Check it out by clicking HERE: Do you use brain breaks in your classroom? Which ones are your students' favorites?

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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