Friday, January 11, 2013

20 Brain Breaks for Small Groups

Free Download: 20 Brain Break Activities for Use with Small Groups

Homeschooling - Small Therapy Groups - Scouts - Extra-Curricular Activities

Brain Breaks are short 2-5 minute activities used to help children get the wiggles out during a transition from one activity to another. You might even choose to use one in the middle of a lesson or activity if you feel like the children need a brief break in order to refocus. Set a 2-5 minute timer when beginning a brain break to keep them consistently short and encourage quick active participation.

The other great thing about brain breaks is that while serving their primary purpose of "getting the wiggles out" and helping transition from one activity to the next, they also work on other skills. You'll find brain breaks that use music, balance, gross-motor and physical coordination, teamwork, following directions, imagination and creativity, and self-control. It is a way to build working on important non-academic skills into your schedule without devoting huge amounts of time to them. It is always nice when an activity serves multiple purposes.

These brain breaks have been chosen because they can easily be used with small groups of children in a variety of settings. Many of these will also work with an entire class as well. You need to download the front page and the back page and print them two-sided. The back of the page will give you instructions for each activity.

On the front, there is a symbol on each card. If you see musical notes you will need a music player, or prepare to sing. If you see a box, you will need an item (see list). If you see a hand, you don't need anything at all to do the activity - just willing participants.

Props List:
Keep these supplies handy in a box and you'll have everything you need to do the activities with the box symbol.
  • Bean Bags - One per child. (Bean Bag Balance, Penguin Shuffle)
  • Paper from a recycling bin. (Snowball Fight)
  • Small pillows, or some alternative. (Icebergs!)
  • Balloons. (Balloon Sandwich)
  • Balls suitable for catching. (Play Catch)
  • Straws, Pom-poms, Paper cups or Small boxes (Pom-Pom Race)

Music List:
Grab copies of these songs to use with the musical Brain Breaks. You might buy the mp3, bookmark them on YouTube, burn a Brain Break CD in ITunes, or find another solution that works for you for keeping these songs handy. (Singing will even work in a pinch for a couple of these.)
  • Hokey Pokey
  • Parade March. Some suggestions include: 76 Trombones, Marines' Hymn, King Cotton March, US Navy March, etc.
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • Freeze Dance
  • Macarena
  • Finale from William Tell's Overture
  • Hi, My Name Is Joe


  1. Looks fabulous, I can see my class finding ways just to have fun with these cards!

  2. I love this idea and I am forwarding this email to my daughter who is a special needs teacher. I beat she would sure use these Brain Breakers as well. Thanks for all those days when one thinks, Is the day over yet?


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