Brain Breaks for Online Learning (Elementary Edition)

It’s essential 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 the mind. These brief periods help kids stay actively engaged in the learning for longer periods of time.

If you’re doing remote teaching, pencil in a few of these online brain breaks to try this week.

Fun 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 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

Using one of these puzzles as a brain break will help your little ones disconnect from the formality of classroom activities 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, learners stretch for a few minutes.

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

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 choice.

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

To save yourself time in creating a virtual choice board, download a free, pre-filled template using the link below.

To access…

  • Log into your Google account.
  • Then click the button below. You’ll be asked to “Make a Copy”.
  • Now you have access to the template. Customize it with your own activities, or use the pre-written ones.

6. Yoga

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

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

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

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

You may also be interested in reading about… helpful classroom management ideas that teachers brag about.

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

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. 

8. 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 learners 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.

9. Silence

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

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

Karaoke-style 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.

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

  1. Trip Savvy
  2. Virtual Field Trips
  3. Resilient Educator

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.

To save you time, download a copy of our customizable virtual tic-tac-toe template using the link below.

How to play…

Divide the kids into two groups, X and O groups

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! 

To access the Tic-Tac-Toe template…

  • Log into your Google account.
  • Click the button below. You’ll be asked to “Make a Copy”.
  • Now access the Tic-Tac-Toe digital board. You’ll need to copy and paste additional X’s and O’s as students play.

14. Classic Brain Break Activities 

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

While not every activity lends itself well to a remote learning format, it’s totally doable to adapt a few.

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

Virtual Brain Break Activities Students Will Love

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

This helpful list of brain breaks for online learning gives ideas for keeping them focused and engaged during distance teaching.