As a teacher I’m sure you’re as frustrated as I am about the lack of room in the required curriculum to fit in the play based, active curriculum that we know and love. With such a big push to fit in more academic activities, most of which are requiring students to sit at a desk for long periods of time, brain breaks are a great way to mix things up. In my experience, getting children up and moving, even if only for short periods of time, instantly improves behavior and is also a lot of fun.
There has been a lot of research completed about the importance of physical activity in children, and I believe that this quote from Gerd Bobe, an expert in public health, nutrition and behavior really sums it up. “Research has shown that physical activity can increase academic performance, student focus and classroom behavior.”
The idea of a brain break is that it is a 5 – 7 minute physical activity to get the brain and body moving. Many teachers are worried about including these as it takes away from the very limited time we have to fit an overcrowded curriculum into the day, but brain breaks often lead to a more focused learning environment. I’ve found a great improvement with my kindergarten students when I started regularly implementing brain breaks.
Jennifer has previously published some great ‘old school’ brain break ideas and I’ve found 5 more that the kids love and that certainly get them moving!
1. Yoga for Kids
I became a fan of kids yoga when I watched a special needs teacher calm down a classroom almost instantly with this technique. Now yoga is my go to brain break when I have a very stressed or anxious classroom. Yoga is not my strong suit, but there are plenty of children’s yoga videos on YouTube. My favorite is this one and I really like that it is simple enough for younger children. It only goes for 4 minutes which is perfect for a quick brain break between lessons.
2. The Animal Boogie
This is a great song to dance around to, where the children pretend to be the animals in the song. This is also a wonderful book which can easily be incorporated into other learning activities too. If you buy a copy of the book it normally comes with a CD of the song, although it is easily found on YouTube.
3. Go Noodle
There are so many great Go Noodle dances (search Go Noodle on YouTube and you’ll find heaps) and I know that this is a favorite resource among the members of the Simply Kinder Facebook group. The Maxarena is always a hit and is our most watched Go Noodle clip.
4. Koo Koo Kangaroo – The Dino Stomp
This song really gets them moving! With big actions, the children pretend to be a dinosaur and ‘Stomp it! Stomp it!’. They’ll love it, I promise! There also lots of other great Koo Koo Kangaroo actions songs as well.
5. Dancing to the Wiggles!
I’m a huge fan of the Wiggles DVD’s and shows for children and almost all of their songs can by found on YouTube. A favorite in our classrooms is Romp Bomp a Stomp and this one really gets them moving!
Do you have any great brain break activities to get your kids moving? Let us know in the comments below or in the Simply Kinder Facebook Group.