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Children naturally learn by movement. All children can benefit from movement or brain break activities, especially those who may be struggling with focus or attention.
Sometimes at school, students will “check out” in class, becoming unengaged, unfocused, and inactive. Brain breaks are fun and engaging activities that can get students’ attention, boost their energy and refocus their attention back on the task at hand
Today I am sharing 10 brain break activities for kids to help them stay alert, on task, and get the wiggles out during the day.
Why are breaks good for the brain?
Brain breaks can help your child be more attentive and focused during their school work or homework. They can also help reduce anxiety, frustration, and stress. They are especially helpful for children who struggle with self-regulation or executive function skills.
How often does your child's brain need a break?
Brain breaks should occur just before inattention, fatigue, or boredom set in.
Look for clues that your child or student may need a break, but as a general rule, many children need a break every 10-15 minutes (grade-school age). Highschool age children can often go 20-30 minutes before needing a break.
However, this is not a set rule and will vary depending on your child's age, their attention span, executive function skills, and more.
You can have scheduled brain breaks throughout your child or student's day. But it's also a good idea to have some on standby for when you notice a child getting extra frustrated or having a harder time focusing on a task. This may be a clue that they need an extra brain break before they can finish.
You can read and watch more about the science behind brain breaks HERE.
How long should a brain break last?
Brain breaks can last anywhere from just 1-5 minutes as a quick reset. Some children may need longer depending on their mood, attention, and if they are dealing with sensory overload.
10 Brain Break Activities for Kids
1 || Jumping Jacks
How many can they do in a minute? Or can they count to 25 or 50 while they complete them?
2 || Jumping on a mimi trampoline
We have a mini trampoline set up in our basement. We often have our 10 and 7-year old go down there and jump to 25 or 50. You can also include a mini trampoline in your school sensory break room or space.
3 || Crawling through tunnels or under objects
See my idea for a tunnel activity to encourage crawling.
4 || Cross Crawls or Marching
March the feet up and down and cross the arms to touch the opposite knee.
5 || Heavy work activities such as pushing or pulling objects
See my idea for a laundry basket push game.
I have a lot of heavy work activity ideas here also.
6 || Scooter board activities
Scooter boards are a favorite of mine, especially at school. We used them in a long hallway or in our sensory space, depending on the school. You can set up obstacle courses, minute to win it games with them, and many more ideas.
See my fall scooter board activity, winter scooter board activity, or obstacle course relay.
7 || Wall pushes
Stand far enough away from the wall that you can touch the wall with your hands while your arms are straight. Then bend the elbow and lean in towards the wall.
8 || Bear or Crab Crawls
Any type of animal walk will do. You can even include these as
9 || Take a short walk or hike outside
Getting outside in the fresh air is a great way to take a brain break and get the blood flowing again.
This is best when done with a large group, so it is ideal for a school activity or even a homeschool co-op group.
Place a large ball in the middle and use the parachute to try and keep the ball inside it.
10 || Play with a parachute
You can make this DIY version from And Next Comes L.
11 || Bonus activity idea – yoga poses
Yoga poses are an excellent way to take brain breaks. There are so many great yoga cards for kids and even yoga channels on YouTube.
Sensory Break Cards for Kids
You may see a lot of brain breaks also referred to as sensory breaks. That is often because brain breaks involve activating the sensory receptors of the vestibular and proprioceptive systems and are great to help kids calm down, organize their thoughts and get or stay focused during the day.
I created these Sensory Break Cards for Kids with my good friend Sharla over at our site Sensory Processing Explained.
They were designed to be used with minimal sensory tools or easy, DIY options from around the house. Activities are divided into green cards for calming, red cards for alerting, and yellow cards that can be both alerting or calming activities. This digital download includes 52 sensory break cards for home and 47 sensory break cards for the classroom.
You May Also Like:
- Organizing, Alerting, and Calming Activities for Children – Comes with a free printable
- 40 Sensory Break Ideas for Kids – Lemon Lime Adventures
- Autumn Brain Break Cards for Kids
Jen Schneider says
I’m always looking for fun brain breaks and these look great! Thanks for sharing!
Karissa Barber // The Acting Mom says
I’m a mom to 4 kids, 3 who are boys so I love this post! We homeschool and it can be hard to keep things focused on learned. I love your ideas and your other posts at the bottom. So much information to help. Love it!
My daughter will love these, pinning it!
Heather Greutman says
Awesome, thanks for pinning!
Oh, this is a great resource! I definitely have a very wiggly kid who needs to do this kind of stuff!
Heather Greutman says
Glad this was helpful for you Nicole!