Brain Breaks Old School & Kindergarten Style!

Giving students a fun brain break in the classroom improves their learning. Check out these quick brain breaks for Kindergarten! We’ve got 10 songs that will get the kids up and moving! Use these free videos for indoor recess or anytime your student needs to move.

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.

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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.


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 wiggles 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.


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 sets 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.


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!


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!


A well-timed brain break can be a lifesaver 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 the classroom, and they are all freely available on YouTube!

10 Fun Movement Songs

Shake Your Sillies Out


Icky Sticky Bubble Gum

I’m Going on a Bear Hunt (nonfiction style)

Tap Your Sticks

Slippery Fish

If You Are Happy And You Know It

Hokey Pokey

Put Your Hands Up In the Air

BONUS:  Greg & Steve Concert Clip with lots of them!  (This is just great!)


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!

Related Posts:

Why I Took My Behavior Chart Off the Wall

The Truth About Teaching Kindergarten

An Open Letter to Teachers Who Bully Other Teachers

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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