Brain Breaks: Must-Do or Waste of Time? - WeAreTeachers


3 CLUES: The teacher starts the game by saying “I’m thinking of an animal…” and gives three clues about the animal they’re thinking of. Students take turns making guesses until someone guesses correctly. That person gets to think of an animal and give the next three clues.

21: Have students stand. Choose one student to begin counting aloud, saying the number one. The next students in line says two and the counting continues around the circle. Whoever says the number 21 each round has to sit down. The game continues until only one person is still standing and wins!

CATCH THE TEACHER: Tell the students a simple nursery rhyme. Then repeat it, intentionally making a mistake. If the students can catch your mistake; tell what was incorrect and how it should have been said, they win.

FINDERS: Pick a letter.  The teacher names the letter and the finders go find something that starts with that letter or has that letter in it.  For example, if the letter is B, the finders can choose a book, block, button, butter, etc.


SLAP THE WORD: Project a word document with sight words or pictures on it onto the whiteboard. Call out the word and have the children touch the correct word or picture. 

STRIKE A POSE: Call out a pose like a tiger roaring. The children will pose when the teacher says “Strike a Pose!”


3 THINGS: Offer something, e.g. I am a slice of cheese. 2nd player jumps in and adds something to the offer, e.g. I am a slice of bread. 3rd player jumps in and again adds to the setup, e.g. I am a pickle. First player leaves, taking one of the others with him. Restart from the remaining player, who restarts by saying what/who she is.

10 FINGERS: Have all children hold all 10 fingers up in the air. Asking questions that take yes-no answers; whoever cannot answer yes to a question, drops a finger. Last person with a finger left wins. Good questions are things like “do you like cats”, “do you like ice cream?”, “is 4+3=7?”, and so on.

5-4-3-2-1: Students stand up and the teacher has them do five different movements in descending order (i.e. do five jumping jacks, spin around four times, hop on one foot three times, touch your toes twice, etc..).

20 QUESTIONS: Think of a person, animal or object. Students have twenty opportunities to ask yes/no questions to determine what you are thinking of. Students take turns asking one question at a time.

ALIEN DANCE: Someone starts to dance and says a person’s name and that person does their best to do the exact same dance. When the person who initiated the dance feels the person got it down they stop dancing and the other person goes on awhile till they create a new dance and goes to the next person.

ALIEN, TIGER, COW: An alien: hold you index fingers up next to your head, as little antenna`s and say `Bleeb bleeb`, bending inwards into the circle; A cow: bend forward, hold your right hand on your tummy and go `Moooo`; A tiger: push your right hand forward, imitating a claw and roar. On your sign, every player decides to become one of the three. The idea is for everyone to become the same, which obviously won`t be the case, the first time. Re-do this until everyone is in sync. Variations: Invent your own animals (or things) and let players become juke boxes, birds, whatever. Play `majority wins`: animals/things that are most in the minority drop out.

CLAP, SNAP, ASSOCIATION: Here`s how to do the rhythm (each beat consists of 4 phases): Slap both hands on your thighs; Clap your hands; Snap your left hand fingers; Snap your right hand fingers; With every right hand snap, a word should be thrown aloud. Once the rhythm is established, you can leave out the snaps that`ll make things more understandable.

FRUIT BASKET: AKA Categories…name a category and each student must name something in that category.  Go around the class until a person gets stuck!

JUMP, SKIP, COUNT: Have students count by twos, fives, tens etc. while jumping with each count.


NOSE, TOES, MOVE: Challenge students to do something physically difficult (i.e. stand on one foot with arms extended; grab your nose with left hand, and grab your left earlobe with your right hand, and then quickly switch so that your right hand is on your nose and your left hand is grabbing your right earlobe; yoga poses, etc.).

PICTIONARY: Using the whiteboard draw a picture of something. The children can call out their guesses while you draw the picture. You are not allowed to use any letters, numbers or symbols as you draw. The child who correctly guess the word, gets to do the next round!

PRETEND: Children will pretend to be various animals or objects (i.e. lawn mowers or airplanes).

RIDDLES: For example, what is black, white and blue?  A sad zebra.

SCAVENGER HUNT: Have students find objects around the house (something round and red) in 15 seconds! The first person to make it back to the screen wins!


SPARKLE: The teacher calls out a word. The teacher calls on the students to say the first letter, the second letter, etc… The person who says the last letter in the word must say sparkle.  If a word is misspelled, the person to say the first wrong letter sits out for the rest of the round and the spelling of that word continues. After a student says sparkle, the teacher calls out a new word.   

TEACHER CHARADES: Teacher acts out from categories such as: sports, animals, everyday activities, musical instruments.  Students raise their hands to guess.

WHITE BOARD SLAM: Start by writing a word on the board that contains four letters. You can start with anything. Challenge your students to come up and change only one letter of the word to make a new word. Then have another student come up and change the word again. See how many different combinations your students can come up with by changing one letter at a time with no word repeats.

WOULD YOU RATHER: Ask would you rather questions such as “Would you rather be a leader or a follower? Would you rather eat ice cream or cake? Would you rather have a cat or a dog?” Ask your class a question and have your students respond with either a thumbs up or clap depending on their answer (response prompts should be determined before the question is asked). Ask random students on each side to explain why they chose the answer that they did.

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