21 Brain Breaks for Online Learning That Students Love

It’s essential that teachers include within their virtual lesson plans brain breaks for online learning. 

Virtual brain break activities are short mental rests that help your students re-energize and refocus.

These brief periods help students stay actively engaged in learning for longer periods of time.

What’s more, there are a variety of brain break activities for online learning, including games, from which to choose.

Here we will share the best brain break activities for remote or distance learning.

Brain Breaks for Online Learning

1. Fun Trivia

Navigate to Google Images or your favorite search engine.

Type in “fun trivia for kids”.

Grab the most interesting finds, and then type each on a Google Slide (or another online app where all students can view the information).

Now show students one trivia question at a time.

2. Hidden Picture Puzzles

Using Hidden Picture Puzzles as a brain break will help students disconnect from the formality of classroom activities and just have fun.

Use one or two of these online hidden picture puzzles to get started. 

3. GoNoodle

Designed with elementary kids in mind, GoNoodle provides short interactive brain break activities that get students moving.

Students will be more motivated and engaged during the day.

4. Quick Games

Integrate short games or quizzes related to the lesson content.

Interactive activities re-energize students’ minds and make the learning process more enjoyable.

5. Online Sudoku

Sudoku puzzles are challenging yet fun brain breaks for online learning that can be done as a whole class.

Even your most reluctant learners will be actively participating to figure these out!

These online Sudoku puzzles for students are a great option.

6. Virtual Choice Boards

Virtual choice boards will likely serve as one of your most flexible and accommodating brain breaks for online learning because they allow choice.

Learners choose their own brain break activity, or the class as a whole chooses 1 to perform.

Download a free, pre-filled template using the link below. (via Google Slides)

7. Funny Videos or Jokes

Share light-hearted and appropriate videos or jokes to bring some laughter and joy into the online classroom.

8. Yoga

Yoga is another rest-the-brain exercise that encourages students to step away from the computer screen and get moving. It’s also great for relaxing the mind.

Search “yoga for kids” in the image setting of your favorite search engine.

Once you find a few poses that you like, display each one at a time to the students. They’ll perform the stretches, using the visuals as guidance.

A yoga video for students is a good alternative to the images.

9. Video

As long as they’re engaging and grade-level appropriate, videos are great as online brain breaks.

Show a BrainPopJr. or Discovery Kids video, preferably one they haven’t yet seen. 

10. Online Jeopardy

Play a round of online Jeopardy using the interactive website Jeopardy Labs. Find customizable, ready-to-use game templates, or create your own.

Choose topics that are fun for students and not too focused on teaching objectives.

The goal is that the brain breaks for online learning be an appreciated and somewhat-relaxing break from the usual routine.

11. Quiet Time

Challenge students to simply step away from the computer screen and remain silent for a few moments.

They can put their heads down or walk about the house. Add a bit of soft music to set the stage and calm the mood. 

12. Sing-a-Long

Crank up the volume of their favorite song, and have them sing along while moving to the grooves.

Karaoke-style is also fun. 

13. Brain Teasers

Give students short and fun brain teasers or puzzles to solve. These challenges can be both entertaining and mentally stimulating.

14. Virtual Field Trips

Guide students in discovering and exploring new places and topics. “Visit” museums, zoos, outer space, other countries, factories, etc.

15. Show and Tell

Allow students to briefly share something they find interesting or important. It could be a hobby, a favorite book, or an interesting fact.

16. Where’s Waldo?

Remember the book Where’s Waldo? Transform that fun game into an online learning brain break.

Go to your favorite search engine, and type into the search bar “Where’s Waldo” using the “images” search option.

You’ll see a variety of pictures from which to choose.

“Screen share” one of the images, and watch students eagarly try to find Waldo!  

17. Virtual Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-Tac-Toe is a childhood favorite, and it helps students develop critical-thinking skills.

Easily create a template in Google Docs or Google Slides and share the virtual game board with students through screen sharing.

Download a customizable copy of a virtual tic-tac-toe template using the link below. (via Google Slides)

How to play…

Divide students into two groups, X and O groups.

Individuals in each team take turns telling the teacher where to place their X or O on the game board until a team has 3 consecutive Xs or 3 consecutive Os in a column, row, or diagonally.

Easy and a ton of fun!

18. Classic Brain Break Activities 

One of the easiest options for implementing brain breaks for online learning is to transform the ones you already use.

Determine which of these fun brain break activities you’re most comfortable customizing into a digital format.

19. Stretching

While standing next to their computers, students stretch for a few minutes.

Simple stretches include touching toes, bending at the waist, head rolls, and stretching arms over the head.

20. Music and Movement

Play some energetic or calming music, and encourage students to dance or move along with the rhythm.

21. Virtual Dance Party

Organize a short dance session where everyone can participate and enjoy the music together.

Final Thoughts

No matter how great one’s teaching, students need to occasionally disconnect and take mental breaks.

This helpful list of brain break activities for online learning provides ideas for keeping them focused and engaged during distance teaching.