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Inside: 60 fun and easy brain breaks for kids. Includes: Energizing brain breaks, mindful brain breaks and just for fun breaks. We’ve also got 90 printable brain break cards (with would you rather questions and tongue twisters)
Attention span and six-year-olds.
These are two things that simply don’t go together.
Anyone who teaches kids, takes care of kids, or has kids, knows all about the tiny attention spans we as parents or teachers need to accommodate.
Trying to keep kids focused can seem like Mission Impossible. Kids can quickly become frustrated when trying SO hard to stay focused longer than their little brains will allow. And this stress can lead to burnout and anxiety in kids.
That’s where brain breaks for kids come to the rescue. Brain breaks are so important for giving kids a much-needed break so that they can come back to the table refreshed and ready to learn.
Enjoy this giant list of 60 brain breaks for kids below!
(These are the perfect brain breaks for kindergarten or any elementary-age kids)
What are brain breaks for kids?
Brain breaks are kinda just what it sounds like—a break for your brain.
When kids are doing tasks that require a lot of focus, it’s helpful to give them a mental break.
You will see parents and teachers using brain breaks during homework or schoolwork.
Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, brain breaks are relaxing or stimulating.
How and When to Use Brain Breaks
Brain break activities help kids switch neural activity to a different network.
The idea is to stimulate other brain areas that aren’t being used when kids are learning and focusing. Brain Breaks primarily hone in on mindfulness, physical activity, or sensory activities. Our fun brain breaks also include just for fun, tongue twisters, and would you rather brain break questions.
Research suggests that downtime is needed for every 45 minutes of mental activity. If you are using brain breaks with young kids, research suggests a brain break is needed at the time interval of twice their age. So if your child is six, a brain break is needed every twelve minutes.
Brain breaks are typically short (about two to five minutes) and are preplanned, so kids know they are coming and can look forward to the break and the fun.
Now that we’ve learned a little about using Brain Breaks let’s look at some fun brain break ideas below.
60 Brain Break Activities For Kids to Try
Calming Brain Break Activities for Kids
Name five things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste.
2. Mountain Stand
Stand tall with your arms hanging by your side. Then, slowly raise your arms above your head and reach up, up, up as high you can. Pretend you are reaching for a mountain top. Hold for five seconds, then repeat.
3. Body Scan
Starting with your face, squeeze as tight as you can, and then release. Move down ad squeeze and release your neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, hands, arms, buttocks, legs, and toes. Finish by squeezing everything at the same time.
4. Cloud watch
Look up to the sky and watch the clouds. Can you make out any shapes or interesting objects? How are the clouds changing and moving over time?
5. Star Breathing
Draw a star and trace it with your index finger while breathing in and out. Or trace an imaginary star in the air or on your desk.
6. Rainbow Draw
Draw and color a rainbow, then slowly trace the lines while breathing. Or trace an imaginary rainbow in the air or on your desk.
7. Silence is golden
Do or say nothing for two minutes. Pro tip: Use a visual timer or play a soothing video of waves and soft music
8. Balancing Act
Balance on one leg as long as you can. When you topple, balance on the other leg. Try making it harder by waving your arms in the air or closing your eyes.
9. Make it rain
Sitting or standing, start by mimicking raindrops on your desk, table or knees—alternate your fingers (pitter, patter). Then, try two fingers and then more until you use your whole hand.
Jog on the spot for one minute, then place your hand over your heart and feel and listen to your heartbeat. Pay attention to the beat. Is it fast or slow? Notice how it changes and begins to slow down in time.
11. 478 breathing
- Inhale through your nose as you count to four in your head.
- Then, hold for seven seconds.
- Make a whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.
12. Mindful sounds
Ring a bell or chime and try to pay attention to the last moment you can hear the sound as it fades into the distance
Just for Fun Brain Breaks
Touch your left ear with your right hand and, at the same time, touch your nose with your left hand. Then switch hands and touch your right ear with your left hand and your nose with your right hand.
Everyone sits; at any point, you can jump up and shout, “pop,” if no one else jumps up, remain standing, but if someone else calls “pop” at the same time as you, everyone sits. Can the entire class pop up?
Night guard at the museum
Choose one student to be the museum guard. Everyone else freezes like a statue of something you would find in a museum. When the guard isn’t looking, you try to move; if the guard catches you, you’re out.
Tell a joke or say a funny word. Make a silly word up like Wormpie soup.
Let’s stand up and silently cheer. We can use gestures too. How animated can you get?
Blend it up
Pretend you are in a blender (you are a strawberry or a blueberry), and when I flip the switch, you will wiggle and jiggle until you are all blended up. Switch up the speeds.
Take turns choosing an animal. Now act like that animal for 30 seconds.
Rub your head
Pat your belly for 30 seconds. Have you ever tried rubbing your head and patting your belly? It’s harder than you think. Go on, give it a try (Guaranteed to improve your concentration and make you smile.)
Pick a color, any color you like. Now find as many objects around the room that match this color. Option to do seated or moving around the room.
Pretend you are in a rowboat; there’s a storm coming; you need to get to shore and row as fast as possible.
Get ready to put on the performance of your life. Spend two minutes playing your air guitar to a song playing or think of a song in your head.
Camp fire hands
Pretend you are warming your hands over a crackling campfire. Breathe deeply and rub your hands together for 30 seconds.
Energizing Brain Breaks
Stir the pot
Visualize you are standing in front of a huge cauldron full of warm caramel. Slowly stir in a clockwise direction, use your arms and wrists and even get your hips into it. After a few minutes, switch the direction.
Elbow to knee
Stand up. Hold your ears with your hands. Tap your right elbow to the top of your left knee. Now touch your left elbow to your right knee. Repeat five times.
Pretend you are a zombie and walk like a zombie for one minute.
Run on the spot
Run on the spot for one minute; you can also spin in a circle or spread your arms like wings and pretend to fly (if space allows).
Spell out your name or a word or phrase into the air in front of you.
Crouch down and get ready for blast-off. Count down from seven, and when you get to zero, push off like a rocket jumping as high as you can with your body straight.
Everyone dances to some fun music; when the music stops, everyone stays perfectly still until the music restarts. Make it even more fun by trying to make the kids smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.
Balance on one leg as long as you can (try to put the sole of your foot on your inner calf or thigh). After you fall, balance on the other.
In this fun cooperative game, you have to imitate each other’s movements. Assign one person to be the leader and have everyone else follow along!
- Reach up high to the sky
- Reach down low to the ground
- Reach out wide to the sides
Hop like a kangaroo
Pretend you are a kangaroo and hop on one foot, then switch feet, then hop on two feet.
Push against a wall
Pushing against a wall is an excellent way to dispel extra energy. Especially negative energy. With both hands, push as hard as you can against the wall for a count of ten.
March on the spot and call out instruments; students pretend to play them.
Act out your day
Students have one minute to act out what they did for the day. No noises aloud.
The brain breaks above were taken from our 90 Printable Brain Break Cards for Kids! You can have them all in a fun printable card format for just a few bucks.
Instructions for using Printable Brain Break cards
- Print (card stock is recommended).
- If you want to use the fun backs to your brain break cards, then print double-sided.
- Cut and use
- Optional (but amazing): Laminate
- Most importantly: have fun!
Why Are Brain Breaks Important?
There is only so much information a young child can retain before needing a break. Their tiny batteries die quicker than your apple earbuds!
Research backs the importance of brain breaks. “Countless research supports incorporating brain breaks into teaching. The benefits include better behavior, increased productivity, enhanced comprehension, creative thinking, and increased time on task. They help students pay attention and are as important as the skills being taught.”
Brain breaks are especially important for children with behavioral or sensory needs, but all children can benefit from taking some time to unwind.
Outdoor Brain Breaks
These brain breaks are not included in our brain breaks cards, but there may benefit from having a quick brain break outside. This might not fit into your curriculum or time restrictions, but in case, here are some fun ideas.
- Nature Scavenger Hunt – How exciting, you can grab our totally free printables right here.
- Jump rope – Remember the joy of playing jump rope as a child. The fun skipping songs and games.
- Blow bubbles – I love this one because blowing bubbles is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness.
- Hop Scotch – Who deson’t love this old classic!
- Sidewalk Chalk Drawing – I LOVE seeing all the colorful and spring art the kids create.
You Tube Channels for Brain Breaks
Cosmic Kids has a ton of amazing videos for kids. They focus on yoga but have many quick, short, and relaxing brain breaks.
PBS Steve has a ton of cute songs to get kids singing and dancing.
Move Dance Freeze
I love any brain breaks that get the kids moving!
Jack Hartman also has a lot of valuable kids resources for parents and teachers.
Go Noodle has SO many fun games and brain breaks for kids. Choose any of their fun stuff to get kids moving and smiling.
I love anything on Sesame Street, and this one is no exception. Try this fun exercise; you’ll love it too.
Final Thoughts on Brain Breaks
There are so many fun and creative ideas to help kids focus, recharge, and relax! I’m obsessed with brain breaks, and I think here, with this epic list, you are sure to find some great ideas for your home or classroom.
Don’t forget to snag your 90 printable brain breaks!
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