Kindergarten is such a fun age. As each school year progresses, the pure desire to learn and the love that is exerted from these children can make anyone who witnesses this happens heart burst. However, anybody who has been to any kindergarten class with several students in it knows one thing: these children are not made to sit still for long and fun brain breaks for kindergarten are essential.
Not even considering all of the data that we have discussed in our Ultimate Guide to Brain Break Activities series about children today not being physically able to sit still for long periods of time due to their muscular makeup, small children legitimately do not have the attention span due to their developmental stage in life to be able to focus for long periods of time. Brain breaks are absolutely essential during transitions and multiple other times throughout the school day.
Developing and executing fun brain breaks for kindergarten is really easy to do with given the students’ age and excitement level.
We know that our students need at least 60 minutes of activity per day. Our littlest students are certainly no exception. Not only are brain breaks totally necessary for them to be able to focus and perform at their best levels, but fun brain breaks for kindergarten will be completely bought into by the students themselves.
That is probably the nicest part about teaching little ones. They buy into the silliness right away.
Teaching even our youngest grades is not what it was in the not-so-distant past. Whereas kindergarten used to be much more of a socialization aspect of education, now there is increased academic rigor, testing, and other such factors that don’t allow the kids just to be kids.
By incorporating these brain breaks, we are giving them the opportunities to legitimately act their age and start learning how to handle what their bodies need when it comes to movement and productivity.
In this day and age where screen time is so high, it is important that we are in fact teaching them fun games, dances, etc. that they will enjoy doing. They are certainly ways to incorporate both of them, with programs such as GoNoodle or brain breaks on YouTube.
But incorporating these fun brain breaks for kindergarten will allow them to receive the physical activity that their bodies require and make it so the academic requirements are still being met.
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Some people have this antiquated vision that having the students move around, it will make their levels of focus even less and it will be harder to bring them back into focus after the activity.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Especially with younger students, it is important to give them the opportunities to move, wiggle, and do anything else that they need to in order to allow their brains to focus. Physical movement and brain focus work hand-in-hand and we certainly need to help guide our youngest students with how to do this both effectively and appropriately.
If you see your students starting to fidget, it means they need a break. It doesn’t mean that they need to learn to sit still or that they needed some type of discipline measure. instead, it legitimately means they need a moment to have physical activity in order to settle down that need they have to be able to move forward with allowing the brain to focus.
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Ideas for Fun Brain Breaks for Kindergarten
A fantastic product as fun brain breaks for kindergarten is certainly using Brain Break Bingo. This is a game that is displayed prominently in your classroom and anytime a brain break is needed, the students pick from a cup to determine which brain break activity and they will be partaking in.
They hang that on the Bingo sheet, and when they do complete a row of bingo, they get to complete a larger activity which is still considered a brain break but is also a prize. This may be an extended recess, a dance party, or anything else that the class or teacher has decided would be an appropriate activity to reward their students. It just helps add an extra element of both fun and buy-in to the concept.
Another great option would be incorporating yoga in the classroom. You don’t have to be a yoga master in order to do this really well with your students. A great tool to help you is The Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck (ad) by Lisa Flynn. This set has a variety of different yoga and mindfulness activities that you can pick from at a moment’s notice to be able to complete with your students.
This will help then energize or calm down and in the category of fun brain breaks for kindergarten, this is at the top of the list. The best part about teaching yoga to a child of this age is that they start to realize when it is if they could use this on their own.
When my son was 7, he took a six-week yoga class that took place on Fridays before school at his elementary school. The change I saw in him was unbelievable. He started learning how to calm himself and outbursts that used to be regular became far and few between.
Imagine what doing this with an entire class of kindergarteners could do for the environment of the classroom.
Another great option is 101 Brain Breaks & Educational Activities by Joshua MacNeill (ad). This is a book you can keep on your shelf and pull from whenever you need a unique idea for a brain break. They’re all different kinds of activities in this book.
I would suggest going through it ahead of time and maybe marking pages with different colored Post-it notes for what you wish to accomplish. Maybe it’s energizing, maybe it’s relaxing, but you can know exactly which page to flip to at a moment’s notice when you certainly see that your students need fun brain breaks for kindergarten.
Again, the greatest part about incorporating fun brain breaks for kindergarten is that your students are ready to buy into whatever it is that you show them.
That is certainly the best part about starting a process of fun brain breaks for kindergarten with the younger children. They love to do the activities that you layout for them, and by teaching them the skills on how to incorporate brain breaks into their everyday lives at their age, as they get older and life becomes more stressful, they will know different things that they can do to help themselves get regulated energized or relaxed.
Truly starting brain breaks at such a young age develops a life skill that will help our students be able to stay engaged and perform at their best abilities as they get older and move forward towards adulthood.
When determining which fun brain breaks for kindergarten would work effectively in your own classroom, there are a few things to consider. The main thing to consider is who your students are and what would work for them. For example, do you have a class full of children whose attention span is over in ten minutes? Or do you have a group that can keep it together longer? This will help determine how often these fun brain breaks for kindergarten should happen, and in turn, how long they should be.
In addition to that, there are certain types or categories of fun brain breaks for kindergarten that will work better for your students than others. For example, a lot of children who have a hard time settling down, or getting to know each other well do very well with a singing brain break. This is because it allows them to release the energy they may have built up while also spending some time working on their awareness and coordination.
Other categories of fun brain breaks for kindergarten are physical activities or arts, crafts, and even computer-assisted activities like reading a story on the computer. These all help encourage children to learn and play without realizing it. The best part about choosing fun brain breaks for kindergarten is that most of them are really easy to do. This means you will spend less time preparing for these activities, saving more time for the fun!
The following is a list of 6 fun brain breaks For kindergarten that are sure to please your students. Please remember that fun brain breaks should be chosen according to your specific classroom needs and can change based on what your students respond well to.
Song Time! This is one of the most popular fun brain breaks for kindergarten and works with just about every class, no matter their attention span or current state. The trick here is choosing a song that will help in any way possible. For example, if you have a class that is having trouble settling down, the best song to choose might be “Down by the Bay” because it encourages movement and could be helpful to them. However, if your students are having difficulty working together as a team, choosing something like “Head, Shoulders” may help. This actually encourages kids to actually work together while moving, which is always helpful.
The Freeze Dance
This idea may seem slightly overused in terms of fun brain breaks for kindergarten, but it’s also very helpful. “
How It Works
The teacher should choose about five different songs that everyone knows well (the more popular, the better) and create playlists for each one. When the class enters from recess, they should be told that they have a certain amount of time (ten minutes for example) and every time the song changes, everyone should freeze like statues. If anyone is caught moving or dancing when there isn’t a new song playing, their name will go on the board and they will be out. This goes on until there is only one person standing (the winner) and everyone else has been sent to the office!
This Is How We Roll
This is a great activity for fun brain breaks for kindergarten students because it involves music, movement, and even learning some information about their classmates. Students should be told ahead of time that when they are in line, they need to find something that someone on their right and on their left has in common. For example, if you were first and first was your neighbor then it might be a backpack or an apple.
However, the next person might say “An animal” because both of those people brought stuffed animals with them today which is something they have in common.
This activity works really well if you have a classroom that has trouble sitting still or who needs to work on their listening skills (which is most of them). It also helps provide children with some information about their fellow classmates which can make for a great conversation the next day when everyone is talking about what they learned.
Mo Money, Mo Money
This is another very popular game that works well for just about any class. This game is perfect because it helps children with their vocabulary skills and also helps them understand numbers which are both things your kindergarteners will need throughout their entire school career! This game involves the traditional “Simon Says” rules but instead of saying “Simon Says” you will say “Money, Money.” For example, when you say “Simon Says Jump,” the students should jump. However, when you say “Money, Money Jump!” they shouldn’t jump.
Students love this game because it gives them the chance to use their own voice and also helps them learn a few important words. In terms of fun brain breaks for kindergarten, this one is perfect because it is a little more active than some of the others, even though it doesn’t require moving around.
First, you will say “Money, Money” and then you will add a number onto that sentence such as “Money, Money 1!” or “Money, Money 2!” Every time you add a number, you should add one more finger. For example, if you add the number “3” then you would put up three fingers and so on. If they get to four fingers and they hear “Money, Money 5!” they shouldn’t put their hand down until you say “Simon Says.” If they do not put down their hand when you say “Simon Says” then they are out of the game.
The last person left is the winner! This game can be played with more or fewer people, depending on how many are in your class or if you have an odd number of students it will work to just have one student left. If you are looking for fun brain breaks for kindergarten that keep your students engaged, then this is a great game to play! Like I said before, it helps them learn money and keeps their brains active!
This Is The Way We Sit Down
We have talked about a lot of creative ways that teachers can keep their students active throughout the day but what happens when it’s time to settle down? A lot of teachers rely on traditional methods such as “walking around and sitting where you please” or “sit by the child next to you” and while that may work for some, it doesn’t always work with everyone. There are lots of different strategies teachers can use to help their children sit down at this point such as using a chore chart or playing music but one of the most successful is something called “This Is The Way We Sit Down.”
Children should be told ahead of time that at the beginning of this activity, their teacher will lead them to their seats. Then they will be asked to quietly sit down and wait for further instructions. This means that the students should not look around or make any noise (until it is time) but they should instead sit still and quietly wait for their teacher.
This is a fantastic way to get students to stay seated and quiet while they wait for further instructions or when they are finished with an activity. To make this work best, the teacher should tell the students that if someone moves before they give them permission then everyone else will lose. If there is a lot of movement when they are asked to sit down, have the students stand up and re-do it until they get it right.
This technique can be very effective as fun brain breaks for kindergarten for many reasons. For one, children love feeling like they have some sort of control over what is going on in their classroom. When you give them a set of instructions to follow they will feel like you are finally treating them like the big kids that they are!
Keeping children quiet during this time is very important because if one child gets up and starts running around, it can cause a distraction for everyone, especially when there are children who don’t want to sit down or who need help staying seated (which is often the case).
This is a good strategy because it helps children behave themselves while also giving them some practice following instructions. It also provides an opportunity for the children to see what they are “supposed” to be doing which will help them immensely as they begin school.
Bucket Fillers Vs. Drain Breakers
We’ve talked about some different types of fun brain breaks for kindergarten that teachers can play with their students in order to make the day more fun and also help them learn. However, one game, in particular, has shown great results in helping children improve their behavior skills. This game is called “Bucket Fillers Vs. Drain Breakers” and it is incredibly simple to play.
First, the teacher should write two lists of words on the board. One list will be full of words that describe good behavior and one list will have words that describe bad behavior. They can simply use some behaviors they have seen in their class or they can search online for a list of good and bad phrases.
Whenever the children behave well, they should be reminded to think of the “bucket filler” words and whenever a child acts out or misbehaves, they should try to think of “drain breaker” phrases.
When students start acting up it is important that the teacher not only corrects them but also reminds them what kind of behavior they should be striving for. For instance, if a child is talking out of turn, the teacher could ask them to look at the board and think of some “bucket filler” words. Once someone has successfully found an appropriate word they can move on to the next person who is acting up!
This game does several things that are beneficial to teachers and students. First of all, it allows the teacher to address any behavior problems without embarrassing or singling out the children who are behaving inappropriately. This is especially good if there is a child in the class who might have some special needs. Second, this game provides an opportunity for children to practice self-monitoring during group activities which are very important for their development.
Self-monitoring means that they are able to look at themselves and decide if their own behavior is appropriate or not. Of course, this game would be more difficult to play with younger children who do not yet understand what self-monitoring is all about (many older students also struggle with this).
If you do not feel comfortable using words like “bucket filler” and “drain breaker,” you can simply create your own list. Try to keep at least half of your list on the positive side and make sure to include some variety (i.e., one of the words should not be “sit”). It is also a good idea to change the words every now and then so that students are not getting used to them.
There are lots of different activities that teachers can use to help their students learn important social skills. Each activity has its own benefits but playing “bucket filler vs. drain breaker” is a great option because it addresses behavior modification without embarrassing or singling out any one child. This can be a difficult line to find sometimes but by playing this game you will be teaching your students how to behave in a group setting while also practicing self-monitoring skills!
Fun Brain Breaks for Kindergarten and the 4 Keys
Determining the best fun brain breaks for kindergarten that will work for your students isn’t difficult, it just needs to ebb and flow with the students and where they are (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Being flexible is the key to making all of this work. The key is engagement. There are four keys to student engagement that I discuss in my video training challenge that releases twice per year. It is called “Finding Your Student Engagement Formula” and it walks you through those four keys and how to implement them in the classroom.
If you are interested in registering (it’s totally free), visit the Finding Your Student Engagement Formula Challenge registration page and you will be notified the next time the series is available.