Why I Quit Doing “Brain Breaks”

Kids needs to move! The benefits of movement in the classroom are undeniable. It improves children’s health, mood, focus and attention. Movement can also improve classroom participation, behavior, and management. So here’s why I QUIT doing Brain Breaks and what I’m doing now!

Why I Quit Doing Brain Breaks

I’ve done LOTS of Brain Breaks over the years. I’m sure you can picture exactly how it looked. After sitting for a lesson on the carpet, I would play a fun song or project an awesome movement video.  I would get ready to start moving alongside my kids. The room was filled with lots of smiling faces and active bodies… but there were also kids who would do nothing. All too often, those were my students who really needed the benefits of movement! 

I heard a similar story when my daughter told me she doodles in her notebook when her teacher puts on GoNoodle. She said, “Mom, it’s called a BREAK.  I’m taking a BREAK.” Trust me when I tell you that she’s a kid who needs to move! That’s when I realized how the term “Brain Break” can be problematic for kids. 

The phrase “Brain Break” does sound like your brain is paused, and it’s not doing anything important. Movement requires the brain and body to be really active. The brain LOVES movement!

Why I Started Adding Movement Minutes to Our Day

Before starting Movement Minutes, I explicitly teach my students about the benefits of moving. Of course, it’s fun to dance, hop, or skip around the classroom, but our activities have a purpose! They help improve our learning, our mood, our behavior! If you’re still sitting, you’re missing out! Movement in our classroom is an expectation, not a choice. I created some posters to help children learn how movement helps them. You can print one and post it  in your classroom to teach or review the benefits of movement. You can download them for free at the end of the post. 

Movement Minutes is just a fun way to say that for the next few minutes we are ALL going to be moving together. When I quit “Brain Breaks” and started Movement Minutes, there was a shift in understanding. We might not be doing a new lesson, but our brains are definitely not snoozing! Everyone should be moving and helping their brains and bodies at the same time! 

Tips for Starting Movement Minutes

  1. Teach why movement matters and how it helps us learn
  2. Encourage students to participate to the best of their ability
  3. Move with your students 
  4. Add Movement Minutes when your kids NEED them
  5. Mix it up! Try videos, songs, stretches, and games, such as Simon Says or Freeze. 
  6. HAVE FUN!

Movement Minutes Favorites

Here are some of our favorite kid tested videos:


None of these videos require any preparation so you can play them anytime your students need to MOVE!  Students are guided through the movements or dances! There are countless other choices on YouTube and GoNoodle to keep your kids moving!

To get more ideas about adding movement to your classroom click on the link here: Movement in the Classroom

I quit Brain Breaks because I wanted ALL of my students to experience the benefits of movement.  You’re obviously the kind of teacher who wants the best for every student! I know they will love doing Movement Minutes with you! If you have another favorite song, video, or activity to get kids moving, please share with us in the comments! We would love to hear from you!

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    Emily Yerty

    Emily Yerty

    I’m a first grade teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

    2 Responses

    1. Hi Emily,
      I have been using your digital calendar with my Firsties. It is wonderful. I am not very “techie” and wanted to know if it was possible to change something. On the days of the week and perhaps even the individual days, could the lettering be in black so the children can see it well. I have heard many say they cannot even see it with the white letters. I do not know how to change it. Any ideas?

      1. Hi Brenda! Thanks so much for your feedback! I can add that option to my next update! I am always looking for teacher suggestions to improve my products so I appreciate you taking the time to let me know!

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