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Brain Breaks and Games

Class Games:


Children stand in a circle.  One child is selected to be the 'detective' 
and is sent out of the room for a moment.  A child is selected to be the 'murderer'.  Their job is to make eye contact with other children and wink at them. The detective is called back in and stands in the middle of the circle.  The detective has only 3 guesses at who the murder is.  The murderer must 'kill off' all but 3 of the circle before being detected to win.

Cows and Bulls.

Teacher thinks of a 4 digit number.  The children take turns to guess a 4 digit number.  The teacher replies with a code to give the class clues about the secret number.  A bull is a correct digit in the correct place.  A cow is a correct digit in the wrong place.  E.g. secret number is 1234.  Guess is 1356.  The code is 1 bull (1) and 1 cow (3).

Pecking Order.

Done with table groups or whole-class.  Very simple rules.  The group must count from 1 to the maximum allowed by the number of children.  However, they must do this without prompting from anyone (including teacher).  If 2 children choose one particular moment to both count, the count begins again. This is fiendishly difficult - try it in a staff room!

Not Hangman.

Think of a word, and write the spaces on the board, just as you would in hangman.
Start off by writing a single letter in the middle of the word.  Then count the amount of remaining spaces.  The number of spaces is the amount of 'points' the class starts with.  Every clue or incorrect guess knocks a point off. The class take it in turns to ask for a letter to the LEFT or RIGHT of the letter string on the board.  This is a spelling game, but focuses the children on common letter strings.

Number Thief.

Again, in teams.  Each team is provided with a Th H T U number grid on the board.  They take it in turns to throw a 10 sided dice.  The resulting digit may be placed in any empty column.  The aim of the game is to make the biggest number in the class.  However, there is a twist.  The teams may choose to put their number in another teams empty columns. I wouldn't recommend this one if the class argue a lot with one-another!

Maths flash-games.  

Either load a suitable flash game from the internet, or use one of the many installed on my USB resources file.  Engage the rest of the class by encouraging them to shout out the answer but ONLY IF they are certain it is right! Try to beat the class high score.

Poems books.

Not actually a game, but a great time filler and settler.  I carry two different editions of 'The Works' poetry books.  I choose a child who is sitting nicely and I give them choices e.g. This book or that book, this type of poem or that type of poem, this poem or that one (N.b. for some reason, they will always choose the first poem.  I don't know why).

Learning Brain Breaks

Sci-Fi Fingers.

Hold your palm up facing you.  Keep all of your fingers closed, then pass a single gap between your fingers , starting with the space between your little
and ring fingers, and then back.  Increase the challenge by using 2 hands, reverse one hand, opposite directions etc.

Electric fingers.

Sit next to a partner. Both close one eye.  Keeping your arms at full stretch, children must make their outside arms' index fingers touch in one fluid motion.

Choral counting.

Split the class into 2 groups.  One will count in units, the other in tens.  Conduct the class, pointing at one group or the other.  Use your finger to indicate that they should count 'up' or 'down'. As a class the counting would go something like this:  1,2,3,4,14,24,34,44,45,46,47,37,27,17,16,15,14  etc.

Wave Your Arms.

On the flip chart or whiteboard write a sequence in code.  The code is as follows: L = left arm, R = right arm, B = both arms, SS = stand up sit down.  Eg. L L B L R R SS B SS L R. point to each part of the sequence in turn, starting slowly.  Children must respond appropriately.  Increase the speed / alter the sequence / go backwards and forwards.

Rotating hands.

A classic.  Make a circle with on hand going to and away from your belly.  Stop, then make a circle in the other direction with the other hand.  Stop. Do both at the same time! (The secret is to think of crossing directions at the top and the bottom of the circle)
Extend this idea by including feet as well.

Do This Do That.

Great mini game to acquire class attention.  Teacher tells the children to 'do' an action e.g. touch your hips, wave your hands etc by demonstrating the action and saying "do this".  At an appropriate time, the teacher says "do that" - when "do that" is said, the children must ignore the instruction.

The Face Game.

Similar to 'do this do that' except the children are required to follow the spoken instruction not necessarily  the demonstrated one.  Stick to instructions to do with touching your head e.g. 'touch your nose, touch your ears, rub your hair' etc. Teacher demonstrates the spoken instruction until he tries to catch the class out by saying one thing and doing another.

Copy the Clap.

Another great attention grabber.  Simply create short patterns using clicks, claps and slaps.  Class need to repeat with accuracy.  Make it harder by introducing pauses.  If the class can't do this in a synchronised manner, get them to say the action as well as do it - e.g. "clap, clap, pause, click-click-click".  I don't know why this makes a difference, but it does!


Not strictly a brain-break, but children enjoy figuring out a riddle provided to them at the start of morning and afternoon sessions.