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8 Brain Breaks for Kids: Fun Activity Ideas for Substitute Teachers

Updated: Apr 25

This post is for you if you're a substitute teacher without lesson plans or if you just want to fill some extra time in the classroom. If you’re a substitute teacher, you MUST try brain breaks to get the best results from your students.

What are Brain Breaks?

After each lesson, brain breaks create a natural space for students to relax, reset or expend some of their energy. Students also have fun doing these, and they will be much more alert and attentive in the long-run. Don’t feel like this is wasting time… brain breaks are essential for children!

Fun Brain Break Activities for Substitute Teachers

  1. (This website has endless dances and movement break activities).

  2. Simon Says. Kids love it!

  3. Give students 10-15 minutes of free time to finish work, rest, or reset.

  4. Take a silent power walk around the school with the class. Explain rules and consequences before you do this. Make sure you clear this with the principal or vice principal first.

  5. Instruct students to stand at their desks and call out exercises: 10 jumping jacks, 10 seconds run in place, 10 seconds march in place, 10 arm rolls forward, 10 arm rolls backward, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, etc.

  6. Online MadLibs For Kids (

  7. If you have access to the outdoors, take the students out on the playground and have them walk or run. Make sure you clear this with the principal or vice principal first.

  8. Play Silent Ball for 5-10 minutes. Students sit on top of desks. Using a soft, small ball, the teacher throws it to a student, and they have to continuously keep throwing it to their classmates until time is up. Here are some rules to make the game civilized and stress-free. No talking, no pegging the ball, no snake eyes, no throwing it to the same person, no arguing with the teacher, no throwing above someone’s shoulders. All of these result in the person being called out and sitting at their seat. GOAL: 1 person left. Halfway through, you can add rules: only throw with left hand, close one eye, etc.


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Brain breaks for elementary teachers


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