The age of adolescence is an important phase. This is the age where the individual is at the best level of enthusiasm and abilities to learn new concepts. But long exposure to sessions may make them exhausted mentally. This brings the need for brain breaks for the youngsters.
Not only kids, but higher grades in school also respond well to activities for their practical touch. With that view, crafting ideas to make intervals into brain breaks may be needed. Here we listed out 15 activities that students or teachers may employ anytime at school or at home. They are easy and need minimal setup.
Brain breaks and movement breaks- What’s the link?
Glancing at the name can give out a preliminary idea of these intervals and how they differ. While brain breaks focus on providing relaxation and making the brain ready for the next session or lecture or work, movement breaks are based on ensuring movements in the body to make them ready physically as well. On the whole, these concepts may often be applied together for better results.
Some questions about the link between the brain and movement breaks. Can they be used interchangeably? As the focus of these breaks is not related, they may not be a replacement for each other. Nonetheless, some traits often lie similar, which makes them worth noting.
Andy J Daly Smith and the team made a research on effects of movement breaks on children in academic performance and other attributes. The results outlined that pupils showed better physical activity, cognition, and academics.
While we know brain breaks may also assist with similar attributes, the link between these breaks can be made out. With these inferences, we ensured to give out a list of brain break activities that also involve physical movement, ensuring better results for pupils.
Fun brain break games and activities for middle and High schoolers
We’ve jotted down awesome and exciting games with youngsters to keep their minds lively and fresh. Apart from websites, you can look out these activities.
1. Pin-drop silence ball
Get a soft, medium-sized ball. Ask the students to take their favorite spot in the room and stand there. To start with, Students must pass the ball to one another without uttering any words or making any noises. The goal is to keep the ball from falling and touching the ground.
Passing the ball is easy task, but needs concentration to stop it from falling down. To complicate the gameplay, the instructor may ask the child that they cannot pass ball back to the same person.
This game may be noteworthy as it allows you to combine some physical activity and coordination while remaining in an enviably quiet environment.
2. Would you rather
All you have to do is call out all the students and arrange them in a central area of the room and ask them a few thought-provoking and fun “would you rather” questions. Would you rather go to beaches or mountains or stay at home? Would you rather have to live in a chocolate land or have the ability to be invisible or become a superman/superwoman? The possibilities are unlimited.
Students who pick option A would go to one side of the room, while children who picked B would move to the other side. They can converge back to the middle to start the next round.
Keep track of the numbers you acquire from the results and have students chart the outcomes if you wish to use this brain break activity in your next lecture!
To relax the brain, students may need some gameplay that requires less brain effort in the activity. This simple exercise is fun generating and relaxing at the same time. To start with, all the students in the class are divided into pairs. Now, each pair is asked to stand opp to each other with a free right hand and left hand showing up.
Now, the task is that the pupil needs to hold the thumb of the other while protecting their thumb. This game can have a time limit to finish off soon. While this game is not focused on win and loss, students can see an effective brain relaxation with fun and excitement.
4. Silent games
There are a variety of quiet activities and games for brain breaks. Sleepy Lions is one of them. A popular game in which students stand very still and quiet while one person (the teacher) inspects the room as the guard or zookeeper, looking for any movement.
As variations are endless for this game. One of them is this birthday line-up game. It is another super-quiet game. All we have to do is to make students queue up in the order of their birthdays without making any noise. They can make gestures and hold out their fingers to represent numbers, but they are unable to speak. It’s amazing to see the creativity that kids used to accomplish this, making it a simple brain break activity.
5. Refine it up
One of the issues that a pupil may face is a few confusions in the subject. For instance, a student after a long math lecture may have some doubts, which may increase the stress. This class activity ensures to address the ambiguity in concepts thereby relaxing the brain in short intervals.
To start with, students are asked to write one query each on a piece of paper and put it in a box. Now, these are properly shuffled. The teacher picks one from it and reads out the query, any student who can answer it can stand up and clear the doubt.
This process is continued till all the answers are given. If no student knows the answer for a query, the teacher may answer it. This activity makes it possible to clear out multiple doubts effectively, thereby turning out an effective time utility to relax the brain away from doubts.
This game requires students’ creativity and how students come up with new ideas to make a cool beat.
It is the best for music lovers who really understand the beats and everything related. To start with, The first student initiates a clapping beat, which is then repeated by the rest of the class.
The next student repeats the original pattern while adding a few more beats, and the rest of the class does the same. This goes on until everyone in the class has taken a turn.
7. One, two, three
This game can be played in a variety of ways. The teacher will count down to three and on count of three, students must then swiftly form three-person groups. Here students have to be very quick. The activity can be changed in a way that the number of students grouped is based on the teacher’s commands. For instance, if the mentor says 4, then four children are grouped to form a team.
There will be a time limit to make groups and be a part of one. Consider it like musical chairs: the student is eliminated if they don’t become part of any group on time. This continues till only two players remain. This game may be played with children from kindergarten through high schoolers. With minimal efforts on the brain, this can be a noteworthy brain break.
8. Calm breathing techniques
We need to help students in making them familiar with the benefits of breathing techniques. Make them understand what it is to be calm. Also, learning and practicing a variety of breathing techniques will helps to relax and unwind.
To start with, ask one pupil about what makes them calm and at ease. There may be multiple tasks like watering plants, music, and meditation. Now, apply the same exercise throughout the class for the break. This way, every student gets a chance to apply newer techniques to relax. Here is an example:
Balloon Breathing: Make them sit in a comfortable, quiet place. And start giving instructions like inhaling slowly through your nose, inflating your belly like a balloon. Take a deep breath in and gently exhale. Students should practice this approach several times.
Flower Breathing: Inhale deeply through your nose, envisioning the scent of a fragrant flower. Exhale slowly and deeply.
9. 5-4-3-2-1 game
This game has a huge role in numbers or counting numbers backward, i.e in descending order. To start with. Students need to get up and the teacher instructs them to perform five distinct movements in decreasing order.
To start, mentors give out an instruction in five steps and the pupils need to remember and follow the same. Here the steps need to be followed in descending order. For instance, an instructor may ask, “Do five jumping jacks, hop on one foot four times, do three push-ups, do a catwalk two times, give your friend a chest bump.”
Another way to perform this game would be by counting back to 5 you will be instructing students on how they have to discover an object in the room that meets the color or other attribute that the teacher will say aloud. (e.g., something round, anything made of wood) and it will be impromptu.
10. Clock partner discussions-
Breaks are often relaxing, how about a companion to exchange thoughts? This activity facilitates the students to talk with peers during break time.
On the first day of the class/week, the teacher prepares a chart in such a way that every student gets a chance to interact with others during the break. For instance, if there are 10 students, the timetable is made in such a way that the first student gets a chance to meet all of the other 9 students in 9 breaks of the week.
As a break starts, the pair gets quality time to choose a topic and discuss it. This can be academic or other relevant grounds. With this practice, students can ensure a broader horizon of thoughts in a subject or area by exchange of knowledge. Freely discussing for a few minutes can make it a brain break session.
11. Get motivated!
The motto of a break is not only to get relaxed but also to rejuvenate motivation to continue. This activity ensures positive zeal in a few minutes.
To start with, teachers can make a list of cards or boards with simple quotes on them. For instance, “I Can Do it!”, “Nothing is Impossible”.
In the classroom, the teacher brings a pile of these boards and shows one after another to the pupils. Each time a new board is shown, they need to say it out loud a couple of times. This may assist psychologically by getting them back to track in shorter intervals. These can also be accompanied by music sessions to bring out the serenity.
12. Basketball toss
The exchange of information, questions, and insights is often beneficial for students, and this activity ensures the same with the learning of new words. To start with, each student uses a blank piece of paper and writes down a vocabulary word on it. They crumble it up to make a mini basketball. They trade their basketball with someone else. Now students open up their new basketball and write down the definition of the word.
Even if they don’t know the answer to the word, they can search the intent from a dictionary or other sources to complete the round. After a few sessions, students can notice there is a reasonable increase in their vocabulary making a break an effective training session while ensuring a rest.
13. Complete the incomplete
This is completely a joyous activity to play with kids. This activity is called complete the incomplete for a reason. In groups of 4 to 6 students. Ask them to draw a giraffe. Each person will contribute to the drawing by bypassing the paper around and drawing a part of the animal. For example, one person draws the head, another person shows the ears, another person shows the neck, etc until the entire giraffe is drawn. When finished, ask them to hold up their animal drawing for the teacher to see.
14. “Minute to win It” activities
Balance: Learners move around the room with paper plates balanced on their heads. Increase the number of plates to make it more difficult as the difficulty should be high after all they are high schoolers. When the plates/objects fall, the student is eliminated.
Water-Bottle Toss: This is a really cool activity to carry out in the classroom. Students take turns throwing a half-empty water bottle on the table. The goal is to have the bottle land standing up.
Noodling around: Students attempt to pick up six spaghetti noodles using only a single spaghetti noodle held in their mouth. The pupil is out of the spaghetti game or if they use their hands.
15. Deck and color
Decks are often fitting in most of the activities, these can be effectively used for brain breaks too. Before starting, students are divided into groups of 3, and each group is assigned a deck of cards.
To start with, one player shuffles the cards and asks the second person to pick a random deck. Now the third student needs to guess the color of the picked card. If it is right, they will get another chance to guess. Otherwise, the first player transfers the deck to the third player. This game has no end and can be a good relaxing choice during short breaks.
To make it complicated, the players may be asked to guess the shapes or numbers on the card picked. Being easy to implement at any place, it can be a good choice for brain breaks in class as well as at home too.
What is the ideal time span for brain breaks?
Give pupils a breather before they experience synaptic overload or fatigue. For some, this may happen after 10 to 15 minutes of continuous movement, whereas for others, it may take up to 20 minutes. Most people just need a 2–4 minute pause to recharge before they are ready for fresh memory storage. Regular ‘brain breaks’ will benefit all students.
For special individuals, the need for brain breaks may be more logical. As a part of their IEP or personalized training, additional breaks are often ensured for these individuals. While the time taken to rejuvenate is often objective, these individuals may also need brain breaks. It would be safe to comprehend that these intervals have a great effect on special individuals
We may now be able to understand the importance of taking brain breaks in between sessions.
These are often essential irrespective of the grade of the learner. It may be crucial to comprehend the importance of intervals to assist youngsters. Thankfully, mental breaks can be ensured in shorter intervals. But provides benefits for students across ages and classroom communities. With these insights, you may check out the insights mentioned above and check out our list of fitting brain break activities to choose a fitting one.
- Daly-Smith, A. J., Zwolinsky, S., McKenna, J., Tomporowski, P. D., Defeyter, M. A., & Manley, A. (2018). Systematic review of acute physically active learning and classroom movement breaks on children’s physical activity, cognition, academic performance and classroom behavior: understanding critical design features. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 4(1), e000341.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,