Brain Breaks

Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are a great way to re-energize tired students. They are very easy and simple, and there are hundreds of variations found on the web for free. They are great for breaking up class stages and keeping the class interested and focused.They are particularly popular with young learners and a great opportunity to practice Total Physical Response. Here are a few that I use in class.
Figure of 8
Tell your students to do the following actions:
  • Draw a figure eight in the air with your writing hand. Repeat this five times.
  • Now do the same with the opposite hand.
  • Now try with both hands at the same time.
Elbow 8’s
  • As above try the same with your elbows.
Alphabet brain work out   
  •  Have the alphabet written around the room with letters L, R or T under each letter.
  •  This can be done on cards or on an electronic whiteboard.
  •  You then say a word to do with your subject and read it a letter at a time.
  •  Students then have to look at the chart and move their arms or / and legs according to the letter next to the alphabet letter.
Total physical repsonse Brain breaks for the ESL class room. Alphabet brain work out chart
1. Read through A to Z and then Z to A getting students to move arms and legs as directed on the grid. 2. When starting with keywords read out keywords with few letters increasing to longer words and get them to move arms and legs as directed on the grid. For example – car, science etc You can vary the grid above with different actions to make the activity more physical and active. Another example of how you can change the task is shown below which involves clapping, jumping and hopping.
If you found this post interesting you may be interested in “creating curiosity in the classroom” and “boredom busters”


  1. Thank you for this. I teach a story telling class that lasts about 160 minutes on Saturdays and because it is quite long students can get bored. These are great warmers to do at the begging or even in the middle o my lesson to wake them up!!

  2. Its really a cool stuff. Will definitely try it for my classes. Thank you for sharing.

  3. love your site. I part of a group of English speaking seniors in Israel who are part of a program inIsrael . We are trying to teach and help kids practice speaking English – aged 10 ish or older, as part of after school activities in small groups. your games seem great will try them out .

  4. Paul Andrews

    This is a really useful resource, thanks for sharing!
    Have a great day, cheers!

    – Paul

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