Brain Breaks — 14 Ideas


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Brain breaks provide a physical, emotional, or cognitive shift for learners. This allows them to reset and refocus so they can continue with focused instruction. Here are some brain break ideas for in-person or virtual instruction:

1. Music - Play or sing a short song.

2. Dance - Have a 30 second dance break where students stand and get their wiggles out.

3. Stretching or short exercise - Reach for the ceiling, touch your toes, twist side to side, jumping jacks, march in place, high knees, toe raises, squats, jump, etc.

4. Breathing excercises - Deep breath, hold for five seconds, release.

5. Emoji check-in - How are you feeling? If virtual, have students share an emoji that represents how they feel.

6. Gratitude - Have students share one thing for which they are thankful.

7. Wave - Start the wave and have it ripple through the class. (This will need to be taught ahead of time so they know what to expect when you start it.)

8. Sign language - Teach your students the alphabet in sign language and have them stand and sign the ABC's as a cognitive and kinestetic shift.

9. Doodle - Play music for 1-2 minutes and give students an opportunity to doodle on a sheet of paper. 

10. Jokes - Provide an chance for students to laugh! They can share jokes of their own or you may choose to read from a joke book.

11. Mirror - Have students mirror the body actions or facial expressions of the leader. 

12. Emotion - Give students an emotion and 15 seconds of think time. Then, have them finish the sentence that goes with an emotion. Example: I am (happy, nervous, sad, excited, quiet, etc.) when .... 

13. Class promise or mantra - Create together at another time and add actions. Say (and perform) the mantra as a brain break during the day.

14. Find a ____ - In a virtual setting, name an object or descriptive word and give students one minute to locate that object and show it in their camera. For example - something round, square, that makes them happy, a book, a picture, a shoe, etc. 


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