A Big Bunch of Brain Breaks - Brain Break Ideas for Every Scenario

Fun Ways to Refresh Your Student’s Brain
By , on July 16, 2017 - Teaching

A huge list of brain breaks for the home, classroom, individual, or group

If your child has “the wiggles” and can’t focus on schoolwork, give them a “brain break!” Science has proven that taking short movement breaks every 25-30 minutes makes students more efficient, helping regain focus and alertness. For more information see the importance of brain breaksNeed a quick list of brain break ideas to get started? Try these!

Two-Person Brain Breaks

  • Stand face to face, one leg back. Grip hands as though arm wrestling. Without touching anything else, try to knock the other person off balance.
  • Rock Paper Scissors (try a “whole body” version: curl up for rock, jumping jack for scissors, lie down for paper).
  • Thumb war (stand up!) or arm wrestling.
  • Races: One foot. Crawling. Frog-hopping. Backwards.

Group Brain Breaks

  • Play Simon Says. Anyone who is “out” continues to repeat a motion (jumping, patting head).
  • Keep one or more beach balls or balloons in the air.
  • Turn on some music and dance! Variation: Have everyone freeze whenever you pause the music.
  • Do whole-body movement songs, like Hokey Pokey, Head and Shoulders, or the Macarena. Find dance videos online and follow along.
  • Name a color, shape, etc., in the room, and race to touch it (Something glass! Something orange! Something triangular!)
  • Stand up and touch the ground, knees straight if possible. Inch your hands forward as far as possible, then walk your feet forward. Repeat. Try an “inchworm race.”
  • Read an alliterative phrase (“The Big Bad Bear went Bowling, then Bought a Bunch of Balloons”). Every time you hear that letter (“B”), stand up! Next “B,” sit back down!

Individual Brain Breaks

  • Act out animals—ones that jump, fly, etc. for maximum movement.
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump with an invisible jump rope
  • Do simple exercises, like push-ups, yoga poses, or stretches.
  • Pat your head and rub your tummy.
  • Move one hand up and down, while moving the other right to left.
  • Write the alphabet (ABC) with your toe, while writing it in reverse (ZYX) with your finger.
  • Hold out your hand, spin your wrist clockwise, and your index finger counterclockwise.

Sitting-Still Brain Breaks

While less motion is also less effective, knowing these tricks can be useful—for example, while studying in the car, in public, or at a community college class.

  • Stretch.
  • Play with a fidget toy (make your own toy by filling a balloon with flour).
  • Put a hard candy in your mouth.
  • Play with a rubber band.
  • Contract, then relax all your muscles.
  • Rub your palms on your thighs.
  • Hug yourself hard.
  • Silently blow all the air from your lungs. Hold. Let the next breath rush in.
  • For more movement, get up for a drink, or take a short walk.

Share this list of brain break activities

Where Can I Find More Brain Breaks Ideas?

The internet is cram-packed with brain breaks in a variety of formats:

Sources for some of these ideas (thank you!):

Soon-to-be Homeschool Mom

About Kelsey Gilbert

Kelsey Gilbert is a homeschool graduate from a class of seven siblings. A former newspaper reporter and community editor, she now works as a freelance writer and stay-at-home mama. She and her husband live near Colorado Springs with their three future homeschoolers.

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