Brain Breaks for the Socially Distanced Classroom (and Remote Learning too!)

Whether you are teaching in person this year or online (or both!) Brain Breaks are more important than ever! Many of the natural opportunities to move, like going to a specialist, working in groups, or even going to recess are not a part of the distance learning classroom. Further, you may not be able to use many of your favorite Brain Breaks because they involve students getting close (and even touching!) each other. 

Kids who are learning at home need Brain Breaks too. It’s hard to attend on Zoom. Most students have reported that they don’t like learning online. Incorporating Brain Breaks into your Zoom lessons is a great way to make online learning more fun!

Brain Breaks for social distancing

Here are ten super-fun Brain Breaks to keep your students focused this school year: 

  1. Jack-Spin-Jack: Students do 5 Jumping Jacks, then spin in a circle 3 times, then 5 more Jumping Jacks. Repeat as needed. 
  2. Marching Band: Students march in place while the teacher calls out different musical instruments. Students pretend to play them – ideally with sound effects. If you are worried about the noise level, tell your students they will be a “quiet marching band.”
  3. Bear Chase: Students pretend they are being chased by a bear and act out everything in place as the teacher narrates. For example, “You are walking in the woods when you hear a loud growl behind you. You turn around to look and see a giant bear! You start running as fast as you can, but the bear is right behind you! You see a river up ahead. Maybe the bear can’t swim. You run into the river. Soon you are half swimming and half floating downstream. You make your way to the other side, but oh no, the bear made to the other side too! You keep running. You see a big tree ahead. You jump up to grab the lowest branch and start climbing. When you look down, the bear is trying to climb the tree, but he is too big. Eventually, he gives up and lumbers away”.*
  4. Statue Challenge: The teacher describes a challenging pose. For example: Stand on your left foot. Bend your right knee in front of you. Put your left hand on your left hip. Grab your left earlobe with your right hand. Students must hold the pose until the teacher claps 3 times. 
  5. Walk this Way: Students walk each of these ways around their desk as the teacher calls them out: baby steps, high-knees, backwards, limping, fast, tip-toes.
  6. Popcorn: Students start sitting with their chairs pulled away from their desks. At any point, any student can jump up, spread their arms wide and say, “Pop!” Then that student remains standing. But if more than one student “Pops” at the same time, everyone must sit down and the game starts again. If you have a larger class or are short on time, you can have just the students that popped at the same time sit down. 
  7. Hip-Hop: Students hop 1 time on one foot, then 2 times on the other foot, then 3 times on the first foot and so on until they lose their balance or get too tired to hop. 
  8. My Day So Far: In place, students have 30 second to act out what they have done so far today starting with waking up. You may want to do this silently. 
  9. Ssstand Up! Sssit Down: The teacher reads slowly from a book (possibly your current read-aloud or a text you are using for social studies or science). Whenever the “s” sound is heard, students stand up. They sit down when the “s” sound is heard again, so they are constantly standing and sitting. You might want to have half your class skip the first one so that the two halves of your class are doing the opposite thing. 
  10. Dinosaurs and Kittens: While staying in their own space, half the class pretends to be dinosaurs while the other half pretend to be kittens, then switch. 
These Brain Breaks were taken from this product which includes 48 Brain Breaks especially for the socially distanced classroom and for using with students learning remotely. For just a few dollars, you can have them all! 
Brain Breaks for Socially distanced classroom and online learning
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