Brain Breaks are short activities, often only 1-3 minutes long, that help kids get ready to learn or refocus on the task at hand. They often involve physical activity and movement, though relaxing activities can also boost mental brain power.

So in addition to encouraging your kids to participate in these fun breaks, join the kiddos and have some refreshing, stress-free fun yourself, too!

Supplies needed:   

Your hands, feet, body and some space

Here’s what you do:  

This activity can be done outside or inside.  Begin by stretching your hands and arms way up!  As you bring your arms back down, begin making large slow circles with your arms/hands stretched out to the sides.  Gradually make your arm circles smaller, smaller and faster, faster!   

Try making 10 BIG arm circles with arms going forward.  Then do them backward.  Then try one forward and one backward.  Count the circles as you go!

Repeat with small arm circles 

Activity Extensions 

  • Make BIG arm circles forward and cross your arms in front.  Do 10 slow crossing circles.
  • Sit down and make small circles with your feet using your ankles.
  • Try walking or marching around the room in a circle while making circles with your arms.  Try to get a rhythm going!   You can also do this outside.
  • Play your favorite music and make arm circles, walk and march to the beat.  (See if you can do this for the entire song!)
  • Use when learning about math (counting), shapes or geometry (circles), and art!

 “The Why” behind the Activity:  

Fun movement between lessons helps kids make a smoother transitions and helps them focus during less active times.   Music and rhythm help the body and the mind work together. Using music in conjunction with learning helps with following instructions,  math, speech, reading  and writing as they are all skills based in rhythm.  

Cross-body movements engage both sides of the brain. When both the left and right hemispheres engaged, it easier it is to remember information and learn.

Check out these books for more fun!  

Circles, stars, and squares: looking for shapes by Jane Brocket ; photographs by Jane Brocket

Go, shapes, go! by Denise Fleming

What can I be? by Ann Rand & Ingrid King

Sorting by Lynn Peppas