New to brain breaks? Take a peek at a primer from the teachers on the Teach Starter team!
What Is a Brain Break?Not sure what qualifies as a brain break? A brain break is a short mental break incorporated into classroom instruction to provide literally what the name implies — a break for that hard-working brain. Brain breaks can be done in the middle of a lesson or during a transition from one lesson to another, and the goal is to help the brain refocus so students can dive back into learning refreshed and ready to absorb the material. Most brain breaks only last a few minutes. They're a break, after all! Teachers can add as many or as few of these breaks into the school day as necessary. Younger children such as a classroom full of kindergartners may require more brain breaks than older kids in middle or high school.
Why Are Brain Breaks Important?There is plenty of research on brain breaks for kids, and it all points to the importance of taking short breaks to help students succeed in the classroom. For example, studies show that elementary students often lose focus and become inattentive during lessons that drag on. Something as simple as a brain break in the middle of a lesson, however, gives students the redirection they need to get back on the attention train and absorb the information. Brain breaks are also helpful in reducing student stress and increasing overall productivity, with research showing that students get a boost in their reading comprehension and divergent thinking skills when they get breaks in the school day.
How Often Should You Use Brain Breaks?Frequency — and length — of brain breaks for your students will vary depending on the age and abilities of your students. You know your students best, and you'll be best able to tell when they need a break. But if you're looking for a good rule of thumb for elementary school, consider adding a break for students at least every 20 to 25 minutes for students to refocus their attention.
Fun Brain BreaksLooking for fun brain breaks to get you started with this collection? Our teacher team designed every break in this resource collection to be fun, but here are a few favorites!
- Explore brain break activity cards
- Play a bingo game
- Challenge students to solve mini mysteries
- Engage everyone in a whole-class art project
- Pull out the pencils for some mindful drawing