Look no further for our favorite brain break ideas for middle school students! There are so many benefits of brain breaks, including decreasing stress, re-focus your class, teaching small skills, and overall just helping kids with efficiency at school.
Help your students get ready to learn with these 25 effective brain breaks!
1. Physical Activity Cube
An easy way to get kids moving is to use an activity cube. Simply get a foam die or make one from paper and write down different physical moves or even dance moves. Roll the die a number of times to get kids moving!
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2. Four Corners - Minecraft
Students earn points and do exercise challenges. They will choose one of the 4 corners and if they find Steve earns points, then each corner has a different physical break activity before making move to the next corner. The challenges get more difficult throughout the break.
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3. Deep Breathing Exercise
This activity is great for middle schoolers to practice mindfulness, especially if they are stressed or anxious. Students use a calm breathing technique and breathe along with the GIF shape as it moves.
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4. Stomp, Clap, Snap
Bring in some rhythm and music with this activity! Students will stomp, clap, or snap along with a song. It also helps to reinforce reading musical notes!
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5. Sign Language Break
Learning the alphabet in sign language is a fun brain break for students, but also teaches them an awesome skill to have! It is also easy to do because teachers can keep students seated, while still engaging and getting a break.
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6. Brain Teasers
These fun brain teasers can be used one at a time. Just project them onto the board and have students try to solve them! Awesome for a break and using some critical thinking skills!
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8. Pen Flipping
Take a break and get those energy levels going and refocused with pen flipping. Middle schoolers always love to challenge their peers. See who can flip the taped pen in one revolution...then try with the other hand...then both!
Learn More: Brain Breaks
9. Thumb Wars
We all know this old-school game - Thumb Wars or Wrestling! Have students walk around the room and have them play with a partner. The loser becomes part of the other students cheering section as they make their way around the room playing with the other winners!
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10. Yoga Poses
3 to 5 minutes is all you need with these yoga poses. Work on body and brain health by choosing different positions for students to work on their breathing and meditating.
Learn More: eMedi Health
11. Knee Tag
Play this energetic partner activity and no-prep game with kids! You play in partners and earn a point every time you tag your partner's knees. It includes step-by-step directions and a video tutorial.
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12. Harry Potter Brain Break Cards
Use these Harry Potter-themed cards and let students pick which break they will do. It is especially fun to do when students are reading one of the books! Or make your own related to students' ELA reading!
Learn More: Rock Your Homeschool
13. Coloring Craze Bulletin Board
Brain breaks get colorful in this school's de-stress corner! How do you offer breaks to your Ss? (via T @PlatouWorld) #edchat pic.twitter.com/0xOIdmRCPV— Teacher2Teacher (@teacher2teacher) September 29, 2019
Create this mandala coloring page that is poster size! Leave some markers or other colors available and give your students a break by letting them color. It is easy to do as a silent break and great during quizzes or tests when students may need breaks at different times.
Learn More: Teacher 2 Teacher
14. Brain Break Dance Party
Classroom dance incorporation is always fun! You can even change up the songs on the list to go around viral dance moves, or make it a freeze dance competition!
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15. STEM Paper Play Challenges
Take a break with a STEM challenge! These short challenges need few materials. A favorite is the paper plate flying object. Have students take them outside at recess to see whose cab flies the furthest!
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16. Brain Break Spinner
A really quick brain break activity, use this digital spinner! This example has different physical activities on it, but you can use the word wall site to modify it and make your own with class favorites.
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17. Brain Teaser Puzzles
Buy a set of puzzles to let students try and solve. You can even make a "puzzle passport" and stamp it so a student can keep track of each one they solve!
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18. Inspiral Activity
Looking for a creative brain break activity that works both in class and for distance learning? Allow students time to use this cool art technique to create digital art!
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19. Fidget Bin
Sometimes there isn't a ton of time for an extended brain break that kids may need. Provide a fidget bin which students can borrow objects from. They are quiet and can easily use them while they need an independent break and through working.
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20. Heads Up!
This is a fun game for a brain break! Download the app and play as a whole class or break them into teams to play.
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Sudoku can be used for educational brain breaks to work on focus, thinking skills, and endurance. This classic game can be made at varying levels or even with images so it works for all grade levels!
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22. Video Brain Teaser
TED-Ed has 3 different logic thinking teaser videos where students must collaborate. The videos play for 1.5 to 2 minutes, then give them a chance to solve. Play the end of the video for the solution. They are an engaging game for middle-grade students!
Learn More: TED-Ed
23. Art Break
One of our favorite brain break activities uses different art tools. Have students use one of these different digital tools to refresh their brains and make some art!
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24. Spot the Difference
Easy to fit into any brain break schedule, these "spot the difference" videos are pre-timed with a visual timer. A simple way to give kids a short break and fun!
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25. Folding Foxes
Using origami for a brain break is a great way to teach students to follow directions and get a chance to relax. This site provides an activity for making paper foxes, but you can easily use any simple origami video.
Learn More: Richland Library