Unplug and Reconnect: The Power of Brain Breaks in a Digital World

by | Oct 2, 2023 | ETS Instructors

Recognizing the significant impact of brain breaks on students is essential. The primary advantage of incorporating brain breaks into a student’s routine lies in their potential to enhance a child’s overall well-being and foster a positive mental state. Research indicates that engaging in physical activity during these breaks can effectively alleviate stress, boost energy levels, and enhance mood. When students are provided with opportunities to take breaks and participate in physical activities, they become better equipped to regulate their emotions and effectively handle the challenges of the school day. In “Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks” author Youki Terada explains some benefits to implementing these regular breaks throughout the day.

You might already be implementing brain breaks throughout your day and that’s wonderful! Below are some quick activities you can try in your classroom to allow students to relax the brain and refocus their attention.

Spot the Difference: Play a few of these spot the difference videos. This activity enhances visual perception, memory, attention to detail and problem solving. Kids love trying to find the differences first!

Guided Drawing: Engaging in the creative process of drawing can help students to focus on the present moment and reduce feelings of anxiety and tension. The Art for Kids Hub has wonderful drawing videos that even the less artistic person will enjoy.

Movement: Encourage students to get up by conducting a game of “Simons Says” or “Freeze.” Have the kids dance and jump around with a GoNoodle video or the Strong4Life team. 

Brain Teaser Puzzles: Provide students with a quick brain teaser or puzzle to solve. This can be something as simple as a word search or crossword puzzle.

Short Walk: Take your student on a quick walk outside to enjoy the fresh air, or around the school to observe others learning.

Alone Time: Some children benefit from a moment alone reading a book, coloring, listening to soft music, writing, or organizing their desk.

Marble Run Videos: It’s amazing how engaged students will be simply watching marbles run through various structures.  Some popular YouTube creators are Marble Movie Makers and Go Marble Run Go.

As you schedule brain breaks into your day, keep in mind that the effectiveness can depend on the type of activity you engage in as well as the length. Short breaks that involve physically or mentally stimulating engagement (like those listed above) can be more beneficial than long breaks that may be sedentary such as playing on an iPad or watching television. The optimal duration of a break varies from student to student, but generally shorter breaks of 5-10 minutes are most effective.  

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