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5 Brain Breaks to Help with Classroom Management

Have you ever had a chaotic classroom, where some of the children are still working on whatever your lesson is but the other half are climbing the walls with boredom because they’ve already finished? Brain breaks are an important part of my classroom because I’ve had such great experience with them.

What are brain breaks?

Break breaks are little games that you can do throughout your lessons or day to help focus the children by giving them little bursts of fun.

Here is a list of my 5 most successful brain break activities in my experience.

1. Rock, paper, scissor snake


This game is super fun for a large class but be warned. If the children aren’t particularly good at listening it can quickly dissolve into anarchy. In this activity, you will need a minimum of 6 children to make the game more lively.

First have the children stand into 2 lines facing each other with equal amount of kids on each line. The line leader (the one in front facing the other line), will do the first rock, paper, scissor draw.

Then have the children hold their friend's shoulders and chant as they move to the following lyrics.

A left and a left

Move left 2 steps

A right and a right

Move right 2 steps

A front and a back

Move forward one step then back one step

And a 1, 2, 3

Draw either rock paper or scissors on 3

Once the person who loses the draw move to the back of the line and hold onto their shoulder.

Repeat until you left with only 1 long line of children on one side and you have the ultimate winner.

By this time, I usually have the winning team (or sometimes just the line leader) decide and pick out a special game/activity to participate in after the brain break, whilst the class continues with their lesson. This is also a great incentive for everyone.

2. Dance off


This is a great activity you can do with the whole class no matter how large. It’s great if you have a projector or an interactive whiteboard with internet connection.

I usually go onto YouTube and look up ‘Just Dance’ videos and have the children try to copy the dance moves. The downside to this activity is that it can get rather loud. Definitely worth it though as you get the children to also burn some calories and get their blood flowing.

If you don’t have internet access but have a stereo then I suggest you come up with simple dance moves to children songs and save a playlist. I suggest looking at ‘The Wiggles’ or ‘Kids bop’.

3. Stampede


This is an awesome one because of how funny it is for the children. Print out 2 sets of animals to the number of children in the class, making sure that the pictures are no bigger than ½ A5 size. For instance, if you have 30 children then you need 15 animals printed twice. Also make sure they are animals that have easy onomatopoeia sounds.

First, you will randomly stick the picture of the animal onto the middle of the children’s back around the shoulder area.

Once, everyone has their own animals, explain to the children that they are NOT allowed to look at their own picture.

They must look at their friend's picture and call out the animal sounds. Make sure that they DO NOT say the animals name.

For example:

If it’s a picture of a cow the children can only say “Moo Moo”.

If it’s a picture of a chicken the children can only say “Cluck Cluck”.

If it’s a picture of a pig the children can only say “Oink, Oink”.

And so on.

When they understand, their objective is to find a friend with the same animal.

When they have paired up, have them sit down together and stay silent.

The whole game is a hilarious event for everyone to watch and enjoy together!

4. Egg hunt


For this activity you will need to do some prior preparation as well as having egg capsules. If you do not have egg capsules you can easily find them via the internet i.e. Amazon, Etsy, Lazada and so on.

First, print out letters/numbers/word or whatever information you want the children to learn and place them within the egg capsules. Add a few mini erasers or treats into the eggs too for even more of a surprise but watch out for choking hazard objects. Then, hide the eggs within a spacious classroom or if possible outside.

Once you've finished prepping in your area, bring the children and have them hunt for the eggs and place them in their baskets.

When the children have collected all of the egg capsules, have the children open them and call out the letter/number/word or information in them. They can call them out in a pair, group or as a class.

Children who collected the eggs with the treats inside can either keep the treat or pick a game or activity to do with their 1 chosen friend during class/recess.

5. Spider toss


This is also another splendid game that all my children enjoy.

There are some supplies and preparation needed; you will need some sticky transparent sheets, and miniature toy spiders.

First, using tape to stick the sticky transparency sheets along the wall (you can even try the ceiling if you're feeling adventurous).Once the sticky sheets are set up, have the children stand 3 to 5 meters away from the transparency sheets. The objective for the children is to have them throw the spiders onto the transparency sheets.

To make it more difficult or more competitive you can draw a target onto the non-sticky side of the transparency sheet. You can also print a nice design with targets and tape the sticky sheets over the design.

Overall, I love doing these brain breaks and the children love them too. Don’t forget to try them out especially when the children are having a fussy day. If you've tried them or have any other idea you'd like to share write them down in the comment below! Thanks for reading!

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