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Classroom Games: Winter Brain Breaks

Janelle Cox

Brain breaks have been all the rage for quite some time now. As soon as we all learned that incorporating a few minutes of physical activity in the form of classroom games throughout the school day could re-energize and refocus our students, we all jumped on the bandwagon. Let’s face it, our students are frigid in the winter months when it’s so hard to go outside. If you’re looking for a way to recharge your students in these cold winter months, try a few of the following classroom games and activities.

Classroom Games: Brain Break Clips

Staying indoors and having to stay still in your seat can sometimes feel like you’re in prison. Children need to get up and get their energy out. YouTube has some great videos that students can follow along to and get their wiggles out. Here are a few of my favorites.

Winter-Themed Brain Breaks

Secondary Story Window has some great winter-themed brain break ideas for your classroom. Here are a few ideas that they share on their website.

  • Fact or Opinion: Students must listen to a statement read by the teacher and determine if it is a fact or an opinion. If it is a fact they must walk to the back of the room, and if it is an opinion they must walk to the front of the room. The example they give is, “The coolest holiday is New Year’s Eve” (opinion) and “Many people begin resolutions on Jan. 1” (fact).
  • Frozen Faces: Students must stand as if their bodies were frozen in ice. When the teacher names a body part, then the students must move that part without moving any other part of their body. For example, the teacher would say “Your nose in melting,” so the students would have to wiggle their nose. If the teacher says “freeze,” then they would have to freeze that body part back up.
  • Artic Fox Says: Similar to Simon Says, the teacher would say “Artic Fox says … “ and the students would have to do what they say. For example, “Artic Fox says to touch your nose with your left hand, or write the word fox in the air with your tongue.”

Snowball Fight

This winter brain break may just be the most fun you and your students will have all day. Choose a topic that students are learning about in class -- let’s say science vocabulary words. Students would write down the meaning of five of their vocabulary words each on a separate piece of paper and then crinkle them up into five separate snowballs. On your command of “Go!” students would then have a snowball fight with one another. When you say stop, students must pick up five snowballs from the ground and check to see if the vocabulary word meanings were correct.

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Winter-Themed Yoga Poses

Yoga is a great way for students to get up and moving in a relaxed kind of way. Have students stand to their side of their desks to create a few winter-themed yoga poses. First, ask students to pretend they are skiing. Have them stand tall with their feet together. Next, have them reach up and toward the ceiling with both hands and take three long and deep breaths. Then, have students stand with hips apart and bend both knees and hold that position for three breaths. Finally, have them pretend they are holding poles and sway left to right like they are skiing downhill.

Another fun winter yoga pose is to have students pretend they are ice skating. Have students stand on their right leg for a few breaths, then stand on their left leg. Next, have them reach each leg out behind them for a few breathes while they slowly bend forward.

The best way to deal with the student wiggles in the wintertime is to just get your kids up and moving. As soon as you do that you will find that extra pent up energy that they all have will just melt away.

Do you have any fun winter brain break ideas that students love in your classroom? 

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.