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To reduce the monotony that comes from distance learning, it’s vital that elementary teachers include within their virtual lesson plans kid-friendly brain breaks for online learning. 

Brain breaks are short mental rests that help students re-energize and refocus. They allow students to disconnect from the normal routine of teaching and learning for a moment in order to give the mind a rest from the principle activity. 

Not surprisingly, strategically implementing brain breaks throughout lessons keeps kids engaged for longer periods of time.

So as you plan your weekly distance learning lessons, include a few of these easy brain breaks for online learning. 

Do note, however, that most of the activities here work best if you have access to Zoom or another digital platform that supports screen sharing. 

Related: Take a look at more awesome classroom management ideas for the elementary classroom!

Consider bookmarking the page for future easy access.

Brain Breaks for Online Learning

1. Fun Trivia

One of the most exciting brain breaks for online learning is fun trivia.

Navigate to Google Images or your favorite search engine (Make sure you’re in “images” mode).

Type in “fun trivia for kids”.

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

Now show students one (1) trivia question at a time. They’ll raise a hand to respond.

It’ll be really interesting to discover what kinds of fun facts they already know!

2. Hidden Picture Puzzles

Elementary students can hardly get enough of hidden picture puzzles!

Using one of these puzzles as a brain break for online learning helps them disconnect from the formality of your targeted activity and just have some plain ‘ole fun.

Why not use one or two of these online hidden picture puzzles to get started? 

3. Stretches

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.

Say goodbye to stiffness. 

4. Sudoku

Sudoku puzzles are challenging, yet fun brain break activities 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 kids are a great option.

5. 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 students choice.

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

To save yourself time in creating this an online choice board template, download a copy of my pre-filled and editable digital choice board template (It’s free!).

To access, find the button towards the end of this post.

6. Yoga

Yoga is another brain break for online learning that encourages students to step away from the computer screen and get moving.

Furthermore, Yoga is great for relaxing the mind, stretching muscles, and helping students to be more relaxed.

The easiest way to complete this brain break activity is to first visit your favorite search engine. 

Search “yoga for kids” in the images setting.

Once you find a few poses that you like, display each one at a time. Students perform the yoga poses, using the visuals as guidance.

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

7. Video (BrainPopJr., Discovery Kids, etc.)

Videos never grow old with kids.

As long as they’re engaging and grade-level appropriate, you’re good to go.

To keep things educational, consider showing a BrainPopJr. or Discovery Kids video, preferably one your students have not yet seen. 

8. Online Jeopardy

Play a round of online Jeopardy using the interactive website Jeopardy Labs.

You’ll find customizable, ready-to-use game templates, or create your own.

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

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

9. Silence

Sometimes it’s necessary just to do nothing.

So why not challenge your learners 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 mellow music to set the stage and calm the mood. 

10. Sing-a-Long

Search for a favorite song of your elementary students that will energize them.

Crank up the volume, and have them sing along while moving to the grooves.

Karaoke-style singing is also fun. 

11. Virtual Field Trips

This list of brain breaks for online learning isn’t complete without virtual field trips.

Guide students in discovering and exploring new places and topics.

“Visit” museums, zoos, outer space, other countries, factories, etc.

Imagine traveling to all of these wonderful locations without leaving the comfort of home!

Below is a list of virtual field trip ideas to get you started…

  1. Trip Savvy
  2. Discovery Education
  3. Virtual Field Trips
  4. Resilient Educator
  5. Houston PBS

12. Where’s Waldo?

Remember the book Where’s Waldo?

Transform that fun search and find game into an online learning brain break.

To do so, 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 your students knock themselves out trying to find Waldo! 😉 

13. Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-Tac-Toe is a childhood favorite, and what’s nice is that it helps kids develop critical-thinking skills.

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

However, to save you time, I’ve created a customizable virtual tic-tac-toe template that you can download for free. (Find it towards the end of this post.)

It’s best played if you divide students into two groups, an X group and an O group.

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

Easy and a ton of fun! 

14. Classic Brain Break Activities 

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

One of the easiest options you have for implementing brain breaks for online learning is to take the brain breaks that you already use and transform them into a virtual version.

While not every activity lends itself well to a remote learning format, it’s totally doable to adapt several to an online teaching environment.

Consider transforming a handful of these brain break activities for elementary students into a digital format.

Determine which you’re most comfortable customizing into brain breaks for online learning.

A little creativity and imagination goes a long way. 

Download Virtual Choice Board and Tic-Tac-Toe Templates

To jump-start your use of brain breaks for online learning, I’ve created a couple of templates that you can fit into your lesson plan as soon as this week.

To access…

  • Log into your Google account.
  • Click the button below. You’ll be asked to “Make a Copy”.
  • Now you have access to the documents. For the virtual choice board, customize with your own activities, or use the pre-written activities. The Tic-Tac-Toe board is ready to use. All you need to do is copy and paste additional X’s and O’s as your students play.

A Great List of Brain Breaks for Online Learning

No matter how great your lessons, kids need to disconnect and take mental breaks from remote learning.

And so do you!

This list of brain breaks for online learning makes the task easier for you. 

These brain break activities allow students to just let loose for a while.

In the long run, you’ll have more engaged and focused students. 

Have other ideas for brain breaks for online learning? 

Feel free to share in the comments below.