Do you use brain breaks? Teachers have been using movement songs as brain breaks since…. well… forever! Studies indicate that younger kids need to move, and they need to move often. This means that movement should be woven into our daily routine. However, at this point we have an increased emphasis on academics. As a result, many teachers have focused on instruction and neglected movement.
Brain breaks are brief rests from instruction. They often provide an opportunity for kids to move. Brain breaks are so important for our students.
- The movement gets the blood flowing
- Following the directions gets the brain strategizing
- Singing and dancing adds an element of fun most kids will love!
- Students are also using several senses which is great for those struggling learners!
In a nutshell, brain breaks help students get ready to learn or refocus on the task at hand.
SCIENCE CONFIRMS WHAT TEACHERS ALREADY KNOW
Most Kindergarten teachers recognize that their students are full of pent up energy. They are young children after all. Therefore, giving them a chance to get the wriggles out is beneficial. We don’t really need scientific studies to back us up. We’ve seen it for ourselves. Still it is good to point to the science, so here goes.
- Research shows that brain breaks result in better behavior.
- Physical movement breaks bring about better engagement and cognitive performance
A FEW TIPS FOR USING BRAIN BREAKS
Keep it fun!
The best brain breaks are fun. You want to get your students smiling and laughing. Did you know that playing opens the parts of the brain that help you learn? Doing something fun will lead to learning. These songs are fun!
Use them to start the day
Starting the day with a brain break is a nice way to start the day. It also becomes a signal to your students that learning is starting, and it is time to settle down for a while!
Use them throughout the day
You want to use a brain break before fatigue, distraction or lack of focus set in. Generally, that’s typically after 10 to 15 minutes of work. However, you will learn to see the signs that a break is needed. Are your kinder’s
- Energy levels low? A movement song will pump up the energy.
- Getting restless? An active break will use up that extra energy.
- Seem bored and distracted? A break will help them to refocus.
KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS HAVE BEEN USING BRAIN BREAKS FOREVER
Ideas for brain breaks are popping up all over social media these days. It got me thinking, “Wait a minute! We kindergarten teachers have been doing this stuff forever!”
So I posed the question on the Simply Kinder Facebook page.
“What old school songs did you use that adds movement to your instruction?”
There was a massive response. The list grew, grew, and grew! Fingerplays and songs and nursery rhymes galore!
It was exciting to remember these from my earlier teaching days and childhood. I had completely forgotten many of them!
WHY DID I STOP USING MUSIC?
After some reflection, I realized I used to use a lot more music in my kindergarten classroom. Eight years ago, every transition had a song, every calendar element had its own song (and in Spanish). I also worked in songs throughout the day to help the students focus. I eliminated many of these songs as we shifted towards a more academic environment. Because they weren’t seen as being “academic enough.” I felt guilted into eliminating them to be honest.
How about you? I think it is time to bring them back. We know they work!
ALWAYS HAVE A SONG READY TO GO!
A well-timed brain break can be a life saver and having the resources ready to go makes it much easier. Create a playlist that you can quickly access or be ready to lead the song yourself. Then you can create a brain break the moment you see the kids’ energy flagging.
To help you I’ve gathered some great little songs from the ‘old school’ kindergarten days that will get kids up, moving, and exercising their brains to be ready to learn
All these songs have either dances or motions to them. I chose edited videos that looked professional. These are songs that add movement. You can easily use these in classroom, and they are all freely available on YouTube!
10 Fun Movement Songs
Tap Your Sticks
What “old school” songs do you remember from your earlier years teaching? Do you remember any from your childhood? Can’t remember the name? Sing it in the comments and we promise to sing them aloud when we read them!