Brain Breaks For Kids

Kids have a lot of expendable energy, and it can often present itself at inopportune times. Brain breaks are great ways to help kids burn off energy while re-focusing their minds and sense of clarity.

These short, fun activities can be anything from a dance break to a simple activity page like drawing an abstract squiggle. The best part is, they work for all ages!

Physical Activity

A great way to get kids moving and resetting their energy is through physical activity. Whether it’s a quick dance party, stretching or yoga, brain breaks help kids burn off pent up energy and get ready to return to their work.

Brain breaks that involve movement stimulate other parts of the brain than those used during learning, and increase blood flow to the brain. This helps improve concentration and enhances memory.

It’s important to keep these activities short — around 3-5 minutes — and pre-planned, so students know when they are about to take a break. Using a timer is also useful, as it can help students stay focused and motivated during their breaks.


The brain can only process so much information at once, and small bursts of music help the hippocampus reset. Music can also promote creativity and socialization.

During brain breaks, listen to a song that inspires you. Whether it’s an upbeat song or something more relaxing, this can give your brain a boost and allow you to approach problems with a new mindset.

Try 5-4-3-2-1. In this brain break, the teacher or leader asks students to perform five different movements in descending order (clap hands five times, hop four times, spin around three times, stomp two times, jump one time). Kids will have fun performing these physical activities and will learn about movement paired with vocabulary development.

Another fun musical brain break is to listen to action songs. These unique dance breaks provide exact instructions, so students can follow along and even teach others! Some examples include the Electric Slide, The Cha-Cha Slide and The Macarena.


Laughter is great for boosting the immune system, decreasing stress hormones, and releasing ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Our brain breaks utilise affiliative humor which is a type of light-hearted joke or amusing story that is meant to strengthen relationships and make people feel closer to one another. Humour can also reduce social distance and create a non-intimating learning environment.

In terms of cognitive engagement, humorous elements improved students’ online engagement in course materials, discussions and assignments. However, it did not improve cognitive engagement in quizzes. This is probably due to the fact that humorous discussions often create redundant sharing, thus affecting students’ ability to give correct answers.

In addition, humor increases students’ emotional engagement in online learning. This is partly because students like interacting with teachers in a playful way, which makes them feel they belong to the classroom community (Martin & Dowson, 2009). In addition, humor can be used as an effective tool to support student behaviour systems and encourage on-task behaviours.


A short burst of socialization during a brain break can boost self-esteem and confidence. This is especially important for students who struggle with emotional self-regulation. Brain breaks also give kids a chance to build their communication skills, as they work together to answer questions or take turns telling a story.

Brain breaks can include movement, music, creativity, or sensory exercises. They can involve the whole class, groups of students, or individuals. They can even be virtual!

If you’re working with a group of students and notice they are starting to fidget, wiggle, or lose focus, it may be time for a brain break. These short, structured breaks can help kids refocus and reset for the rest of their lesson. Ultimately, they make learning fun and help students become more engaged in academics. They’re an essential classroom tool! And they’re easy to incorporate into everyday school routines.

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