Once school starts, I usually find it so hard to find decent brain breaks. Here are a few ideas I have found today that will be the beginning of my 2020 brain break ideas to try this year. If you try any or have one of your own that you can recommend, please add details/feedback in the comments below. I would truly appreciate it.
A variation of Buzz; 3,6,9 clap from ultimate camp resource In a circle, students one by one count upwards but on multiples of three, clap instead of say the number.
Catch the bunny from ultimate camp resource; two balls, one small and one large are passed around the circle. The small ball represents the bunny and the larger ball represents the farmer. The balls are passed around the circle until one person ends up with both balls representing the farmers catching up to the bunny. Obviously the aim of the game is to ensure the farmer does not catch the bunny!
Catch, don’t catch from ultimate camp resource; a person stands in the middle of the circle and before throwing the ball, says catch or don’t catch. The person receiving the ball has to do accordingly!
Category clapping game from ultimate camp resource; leader starts with a hand clapping rhythm and then to the beat of the hand clap states the category. The next person says something from that category to the beat of the clapping. The round ends when someone can’t suggest an idea. They suggest that this person is out, but in a class situation, I do not like to punish students who make a mistake. Instead, I look for ways in which to give them another go without encouraging others to also err. Category ideas could include American states, countries, animals, girls/boys names, plants, food.
Kitty wants a Corner game from ultimate camp resource; a circle game with one student, the kitty, in the middle of the circle. They kitty wants to join the circle. The kitty will ask those in the circle to swap places. The person asked can choose to swap (and become the new kitty) or not. If this person does not want to swap, they say “Ask my neighbour.” Meanwhile, behind the kitty’s back, students who make eye contact with each other can swap places. If the kitty cis quick enough, the kitty can jump into a vacated spot and the person in the middle becomes the new kitty. To get all moving and changing seats, the centre person can call out ‘Kitty littter’!
Pass the Banana from Ultimate Camp Resource; students sit together in a tight circle with their knees up and their hands tucked under their legs. One person is in the middle and tries to locate the banana as everyone else is moving the banana secretly under their legs.
Laser Tag from Ultimate Camp Resource
Ah, Soh, Gi from Ultimate Camp Resource – I like the idea of this game but am not entirely taken with the three words. Wondering what a culturally sensitive substitute could be for the Indonesian classroom.
No /sir, Not I sir from youth group games; this game has lots of language potential and I can’t wait to try it. The phrase for this version of the game is ‘The prince of Paris has lost his hat and number _ has it” This could easily be adapted depending on the age of the students. It is a game of concentration and counting with the added complication of student numbers changing each time someone gets out. I also like that when students are out, they are still in the game. Follow the link above for the detailed instructions! I also love that they include ideas for making the game even more challenging!
Slap, Clap, Snap from ultimate camp resources; Assign everyone in the circle a number starting with one. Teach the slap, clap, snap rhythm and keep it going at a reasonable pace that matches the ability of the group. When the rhythm is set, starting with the person who is number one, they say their number each time they slap and clap however when they snap they say the number of another person. This continues until someone makes a mistake. when this happens, that person moves to the end of the line (ie next to number 1) and everyone not only shuffles up space wise, they also shuffle up numerically!
Food, Friends, Fireworks from Ultimate Camp Resources; this game is one I have used successfully in my classroom with target structures. The more exaggerated the action for each word, the better. Pairs stand back to back and count together to 3. On 3, they both jump around and instantly do the action they have decided. The goal is to do the same action. If they do, an air punch is done and if not, a ‘duh’ gentle slap to the forehead.
Five Finger Fling from Ever Active Schools – A great physical game that incorporates additional and subtraction.
Death Ball from Youth Group Games; a great sitting
Brain Gym ideas – from Ultimate Camp Resources. OMG these are so tricky!! https://youtu.be/39ma0PLhvHY
Clap, Snap, Stomp from ExpertVillage. Start with students standing in a circle. Begin by numbering off 1,2,3,1,2,3 all around the circle. Then go around the circle but this time replace the one with a clap. Repeat again replacing the 1 with a clap and the 2 with a snap. The third time around the circle, add in replacing the 3 with a stomp.
8 Things from Hoopla
Someone jumps into the middle of the circle. They are given a category of things to say 8 of. They say 8 things in that category as quickly as they can, with everyone shouting encouragement for each one and a round of applause at the end. It’s important that everyone enthusiastically supports every suggestion, this helps the group trust each other that ever offer will be supported. They are encouraged to say the first things that come to them, the game isn’t called 8 Right Things afterall! For instance:
Brian – Hi everyone I’m Brian
Everyone – Hi Brian!
Director – 8 types of holiday
Brian – Skiing!
Everyone – ONE!
Brian – Beach!
Everyone – TWO!
Brian – Safari!
Everyone – THREE!
Brian – Naked skinny dippinng holiday!
Everyone – FOUR!
Brian – Cheese museum holiday!
Everyone – FIVE!
Brian – Weston super mare!
Everyone – SIX!
Brian – Staycation!
Everyone – SEVEN!
Brian – Mountain climbing!
Everyone – EIGHT! Those were 8 things! (dance and applause).
Shakedown by ExpertVillage; a great counting backwards and movement activity.
Ikan Besar, Ikan kecil (Big Fish, Small Fish) by Improvencyclopedia; Students stand in a circle. One student starts by saying ikan besar and showing with their hands the length of a large fish. The next person either repeats both the phrase and the action or says. ikan kecil while showing with their hands the length of a small fish. If the latter is said, the direction around the circle changes. I love this idea purely because of the potential for any noun/adjective phrase to be used.
Chopsticks – Don’t even know where to start explaining the rules, so here is a video that explains it clearly and succinctly;