Brain Breaks for Kids in the Classroom

Instructor: Nicky Davis
It's completely normal for kids to get fidgety or distracted during dense lessons on new topics. Read on to find activity ideas that give students a quick brain-break to keep them refreshed and focused for more effective learning.

Classroom Brain Break Activities

The idea of the brain-break is to break up the incoming stream of new information with bursts in which students use a different part of their brain. These little breathers can help students remain focused by diversifying an otherwise overwhelming lesson.

Pass the Dance

Get your students blood circulating back to the brain with some exercise. For this activity, each student comes up with a short dance move at his or her desk. Start in one spot in the room, and have a student do their dance and pass it to the next student, who copies that dance and passes it on. Pass everyone's dance move around the room in a wave.

Draw the Distraction Monster

This brain break can be very effective when learning about topics involving logic or memorization, since it engages the creative side of the brain. Give students 5 minutes to draw a picture of the monster that's distracting them from the lesson. This could be an actual monster or a picture of whatever it is they're thinking or daydreaming about. Focusing on the distraction gets it out in the open and dealt with so the students can once again focus on schoolwork.

Pictures in the Air

Another creative activity that also requires a little concentration, which can help focus straying minds during class. Have students split into pairs. One student in each pair will draw a picture in the air with his or her finger while the partner tries to guess what what's being drawn. Assign a category of items, such as animals or places, to make guessing a little easier.

Keep Breathing

There's something to inward reflection and getting centered that can make a mind more receptive to learning. Invite students to close their eyes and focus on their breathing. Ask them to imagine all the parts of their body at work as they inhale and exhale, from their lungs, to their mouth and nose, to their belly as it expands and contracts.

Stretch It Out

Back to getting exercise, since this is a great way to get the blood flowing to the brain! Invite students to stand up, walk around the room and stretch their bodies. Try some easy physical challenges, such as touching your hands behind your back, or patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, to allow the mind time to rest and sharpen focus.

Effective Teaching Resources

Looking for different ways to create a more engaging and active classroom environment? Check out the following resources. Featuring fun video lessons that use dynamic animations and graphics, these resources offer activity ideas, strategies and pedagogical principles to help you keep the learning environment interactive and exciting for your students.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Filtered by: {{}}   {{}}   {{}}   Clear All Filters
Courses: {{}}