Brain Breaks

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Brain Breaks

The breakdown on brain breaks

At the December 2018 PSEA House of Delegates, delegates passed a new business item to advocate for giving students more “brain breaks” throughout the day. A brain break can be any activity that gives students a chance to take a step back from the academic grind and give their brains a much-needed stimulus boost.

The activities can be anything from a game of checkers to an acapella group to a bit of improv to an impromptu jam session with some ukuleles or percussion instruments the kids can easily store in their lockers. Simpler still, a bit of exercise goes a long way.

Researchers have found that children who engage daily in exercise show enhanced motor skills, academic performance, and attitude toward school. Studies have also found that individuals who regularly exercise demonstrate quicker reactions, think more clearly, and remember more.

So to ensure that students are primed to learn, just tell them to get moving! 

See more Brain Break stories in past issues of The VOICE:
March 2019
May 2019

What the Brain Needs to Learn


Students should drink eight to 12 glasses of water per day in order to keep the brain properly hydrated.


In addition to pumping more oxygen into the brain, movement strengthens the brain’s ability to form new connections and transfer new pieces of information into the areas responsible for long-term learning.

Rest & Recovery

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least nine hours a night of sleep for children ages six to 12, and eight hours for teenagers to ensure optimal brain function. Daily brain breaks offer another chance for recovery.


Art, movement, and music enhance the brain’s ability to process information and make stronger neural connections. Designing the instructional day to include physical education, recess, fine arts, and other opportunities for movement will increase student achievement as well as teach skills to enhance social and emotional development and decrease off-task behavior.


Breathing and movement are critical to keeping the brain flooded with oxygen and primed for learning. Schools need more physical education, recess, and physical activity throughout the day to keep students’ brains well-oxygenated. Breathing exercises in the classroom can help quiet the brain and increase oxygen levels.

PSEA members share their favorite brain breaks