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’.
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.
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!