Brain Breaks are an easy way to give kids a little exercise without it seeming like work, and to give their brain a much needed break from the task at hand.
Everyone knows how important it is to get up and move when you’ve been sitting.
Not only for adults, but also for children in schools.
Sitting at desks all day is hard on our kiddos.
Even sitting on the floor or in seats of their choice, they still need to get up and get some movement.
Movement-Based Brain Breaks
Vestibular movement, moving in a way that stimulates the vestibular system, is one excellent way to incorporate movement into the day, either as breaks from learning, at scheduled times, in PE class or during morning meeting.
It’s super important to stimulate the vestibular system with brain breaks to improve:
- Muscle tone
- Visual tracking
- Integration of auditory and visual senses
- Cardiovascular health
- Communication between the two halves of the brain
Grab my free set of 20+ different movement and yoga based Brain Breaks in a printable PDF here! Great for letting students choose at random 🙂
Brain breaks help the two sides of the brain connect, and in doing so, help train your body and brain to work together.
Here are some simple brain breaks that get kids up and moving and are especially good for vestibular movement and coordination.
Washer: stand with feet hip distance apart, arms bent, elbows at your sides. Bend your knees slightly, and rotate your torso side to side, like a washing machine doing up some clothes.
Dryer: Either spin your fists around one another like punching a boxing bag while blowing on your hands, OR bend at the hips to “pick up clothes” and “hang them” high above your head on the line to dry
A basic yoga sun salutation is great for helping the core and balance. Reach up high for mountain, then bend into forward fold. Plant your hands and step back into plank. Lower down, then lift the torso for cobra. Breathe in and out, then press back into down dog. Step forward again to forward fold, then reach back up high to mountain.
Zap finger find with a friend
Stand back to back with a friend. One person is the zapper first, putting their finger somewhere to the side either up or down, and the other person needs to find the finger and “zap” it with their own. Switch after 5-10 zaps, switching hands as well.
Pass ball over/under with friend
Stand back to back (not quite touching) with a friend with your feet slightly wider than hip distance. One person passes the ball over their heads to the receiver, who takes the ball and passes it between their legs. Keep passing it the same direction, then go the other way.
Stand with feet wide. Reach up in star pose, then reach one hand down to the opposite foot. Come back up to star pose, then reach the other hand to the other foot.
Boat hand and foot crossover
This is another cross body hand to foot action but done in boat pose. Reach your hands up above your head while balancing on your sit bones, then reach for your opposite knee or foot. Great for core strength and coordination. Try it with legs straight for an extra challenge!
Tippy toes and heel balance
Balancing alternatively on your toes and then your heels is good for balance practice, core strength, and foot articulation. I find that kids move their hands at the same time which is cute to point out. It also gets them to be mindful when they have to focus on such small movements.
Cross crawls (or knee bumps, as my kids call them)
This one is great for kids of any age. Start marching with high knees, but touch your elbow to your opposite knee and then the other side. Try to reach your foot for an extra challenge.
Reach down and grab your ankles and act out the actions to this poem while you’re doing the poem. Keep your hands on your ankles for the first two, and then again for the last two.
Dinosaur, dinosaur turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur stomp the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur show your claws
Dinosaur, dinosaur chomp your jaws
Dinosaur, dinosaur turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur sit back down
Point out a few key objects in different directions of the classroom that the kids will need to spin and jump to face when you call it out. Examples: clock, door, windows, poster, etc. Tell them to jump with the feet slightly apart, both feet at the same time, almost like a snowboarder.
Start in high plank pose. Bring one knee up to your elbow, either the same elbow, or cross it over for added challenge. Then do the other knee! Keep going and use your core for strength.
Kneel on your hands and knees. Reach your right arm forward and your left foot back. Balance! Then, reach your arm all the way around behind you and try to tap your left foot. Switch and do the other side.
Enjoy these brains and body breaks with your kids or students! Let me know of any others you have tried and enjoyed.
Check out some of my other posts with active games for kids using yoga here:
- Enticing Partner Games that Teach Mindfulness for Kids
- The Best Yoga Games for an Amazing Summer Camp
- How to Play Engagingly Creative Yoga Games With Your Kids or Students
- Yogi Says: An easy and active yoga game for kids!
- 5 Active Kids Yoga Games to Have Fun in a Group
What other body and brain breaks do you do with kids? Any fun songs or rhymes?
Let me know in the comments 🙂