“Is it Recess Yet?”
It’s Monday morning. You’ve been doing math for twenty minutes and you start to notice their eyes glazing over and their body begin to slump in their chair . . .It’s time for a Brain Break!!
If you’ve never heard of Brain Breaks, you’re about to learn about one of the simplest yet most effective brain research applications for elementary and high school students. Our brains need
breaks. And lots of them!
Why Brain Breaks?
Recent brain researchers are finding that an average adult brain can only maintain full focus and attention for about fifteen minutes before it wanders off or begins to lose the information it
just received. For students, that time is significantly less. Brain Breaks are the key to this problem!
What are Brain Breaks?
Brain Breaks are any quick, short physical or mental activity that wakes up the brain. It can be ten jumping jacks, a couple jokes from a joke book, a quick run to the mailbox and back, or even
getting up to get a drink of water. Some brain breaks focus on crossing the body’s midline (the invisible line down that middle of the body). For example, having the right arm touch left knee
facilitates both sides of the brain working together.
How do Brain Breaks work?
As we sit, the oxygen supply begins to slow to our brain but by simply standing up, we can increase the oxygen rich blood flow to our brain by twenty percent. Standing on one foot will
increase the oxygen to different parts of the brain so balancing on each foot will help wake up all of our brain! Brain Breaks also help refocus attention, increase cooperation and wake up the
vestibular system, which helps sensory integration.
How do I use Brain Breaks?
Brain Breaks can be a spontaneous action they decide to do (jumping jacks, push ups, running in place), it can be a list of specific activities (cross midline: knee to elbow touches, finger to toe
windmills, toes touches), or maybe have a jar of papers to pull from each with a specific Brain Break activity.
When a Brain Break is needed:
- Watch body language – When you notice your child seems lethargic or full of wiggles, it’s probably time for a brain break. Stand up, move around and you’ll see a huge burst of attention!
- Watch the clock – To maximize learning retention watch the clock and schedule a Brain Break at least every thirty minutes.
- Listen to their words – When kids start asking for recess, or a drink, or a snack, that’s their way of trying to communicate that they need a break.
FREE Printable Brain Break Cards
There are hundreds of examples if you google “Break Breaks” Here is an excellent, easy to download and print resource for creating your own Brain Break Jar:
Free Brain Break Cards:
A fabulous book you might check out is Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head by Carla Hannaford.
Fabulous Brain Break Ideas (and other “Making Homeschool Fun” ideas):
Now it’s your turn!
Tell us about your favorite Brain Breaks and how you use them while you homeschool.
Add your thoughts in the comments below.