It’s no secret that kids love to move, dance, and play, and in such an action-packed day of learning, it’s essential to make sure students have the time and to release and channel their energy in a productive way. Brain Breaks are short breaks throughout the day that can do a variety of things: get students energized, help them to calm down and focus, provide a break in between activities, or simply bring joy into the classroom! Most teachers will tell you that their students are more productive, calmer, and more focused after a brain break, so we use them all the time at DAA!
In Kindergarten, we use two websites to help facilitate these Brain Breaks: GoNoodle and Cosmic Kids Yoga. GoNoodle is a website that has a compilation of videos that focus on exercise, song, dance, stretching, and mindfulness. Our Kindergarten Crew was selected to be a Classroom Ambassador this year, which means that we get to test out new GoNoodle videos and we also get to try out all of the GoNoodle Plus videos and extensions. We love all of the videos, but some are especially helpful to our brain growth, focus, and development. Some of our favorite silly dance videos are Pop-See-Ko, Whip/Nae Nae, and the Cupid Shuffle.
As a teacher, my favorite GoNoodle are the videos that sneakily combine some academic learning with movement and fun. For example, we start our Math lessons after lunch, and my Kindergarteners are always a bit more wiggly than they are in the morning. To channel some of that energy, I put on the Mega Math Marathon, where students have to run in place while answering math questions or Maximo the Magnificent, where students have to hold a challenging yoga pose while answering math questions. I love that kids are doing math and also having fun. I also love that I can customize questions related to the topics we are working on in math, so it flows nicely into our learning targets for the day.
Other than using brain breaks to get our wiggles out and have fun, we also use brain breaks to calm down, relieve stress, and refocus. GoNoodle has some videos that teach students different breathing strategies, such as a Snake Breath, Rainbow Breath, and Bee Breath. The videos use fun characters to teach students skills they can use if they are frustrated or upset, and I like to use them after we do a fun and energizing activity or when I notice students have a lot of energy and we need to focus on a new topic. We also use Cosmic Kids Yoga, which is a YouTube channel that teaches kids yoga poses with a fun theme and adventure tied in. We’ve gone on adventures to the ocean, to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, to outer space, to the desert, and to so many other places, all while learning new yoga poses that help stretch our body, and calm and focus our minds.
Both GoNoodle and Cosmic Kids Yoga are websites that can be accessed and used at home as well as at school. To sign up for a free GoNoodle account, simply go to gonoodle.com and enter a parent’s e-mail address. To view free Cosmic Kids Yoga videos, go to cosmickids.com or search “Cosmic Kids Yoga” on YouTube. Happy Brain Breaking!