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9 Brain Breaks to be more Productive

Brain breaks - Take a rest

A Brain breaks can do wonders to get antsy or zoned-out students, members in a meeting or team mates back on track. Just as the name implies, a brain break gives students’ brains a pause from the task at hand. It is a short break, typically about three minutes, where students get their bodies moving and working on a new task to get their brains re-energized and ready to re-focus.

The half-way point in the period is a great time to employ a brain break, but it can, of course, be used at any point during class. Sometimes it is simply the looks on students’ faces that will signal that it is time for a quick break.

Here are nine types of brain breaks for any age


Instruct students to stand up and take a few minutes to stretch. The stretches can be either teacher-guided or independent. Consider incorporating easy-to-do, beginner yoga stretches. Encourage deliberate breathing throughout the stretches to help re-center students’ bodies and minds.

Walking around the room

Ask students to get into a single file line. Explain that they will walk around the perimeter of the classroom while the music plays. When the music stops, they must freeze. This requires students to remember instructions and be conscious of those around them so as not to bump into anyone.

Dancing to music

Tell students that it is time for a dance party. Play music and allow them to spend a few minutes grooving to the beats. Students can form a circle and allow volunteers to go into the center of the circle to showcase their dance moves for others to follow.

Playing catch

Instruct students to stand in a circle. Have either a soft ball or a small bean bag ready. Explain that students will play catch based on criteria provided. The ball or bean bag can only be thrown to someone fitting the statement. Some examples include throwing the ball to someone who has brown hair or someone who is wearing glasses. This approach requires the ball holder to process the criteria before choosing a recipient, rather than simply throwing the ball to a friend.


Give students several minutes to draw in their notebooks or on scrap paper. Whether they draw stick figures or elaborate sketches, all that matters is that students have an opportunity to free their minds and be creative. Depending on the amount of time allotted to drawing, crayons and colored pencils may be incorporated. Also, during this break, grant the students permission to stand up and stretch, as needed.


Ask students to free-write about topics of their choice. This can be done in journals or on scrap paper. Write two or three optional topics on the board for students who may be struggling. Additionally, extend students the opportunity to walk around the room for a minute. This movement will help with blood flow and may even spark ideas for the free-write.

Answering trivia questions

Prepare trivia questions, each with two answer choices: “choice A” and “choice B” (four choices may be provided for more of a challenge). Assign one side of the classroom as “A” and another as “B.” After reading each question, tell students to move to the side of the room, matching what they believe is the correct answer.

Talking with friends

Students love to chat. Embrace their talkative nature by granting permission to talk with friends for a few minutes. Another option is to present a question or topic to be the focus of the conversations. Have students discuss a question such as, “What is more important to you, money or happiness?” or a topic such as, “list three ways you can improve your community.” Having a pre-determined talking point makes for a smoother transition back to work than it would be if students chat aimlessly.

Brain breaks are invaluable in all grade levels. The short, “mental recess” allows students’ minds to refresh while remaining stimulated. The activity used and the length of each break can be adapted to fit the students’ needs to get them successfully back on track and feeling revitalized.

Use Mind Maps as productivity boost

The last but not least important point on the list of Brain Breaks: Mind Maps are a good and easy to use way to record, organise and recall your information. To dos, meeting notes or facts to learn for an exam are just a small number of examples that can be managed with mind maps easily.

Your can read more on how to use Mind Maps in more detail:

Mind Map – A Short Introduction

Mind Maps – Frequently asked Question (FAQ)