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Let’s take a brain break!

Brain breaks are great for tamariki during concentrated-learning time because they give their brains a solid rest, so they can get back to their mahi feeling fresh as!

Firstly, the science...

Brain breaks are short periods of physical activity or relaxation for tamariki (or anyone!) during learning to break up long periods of sitting and focused attention. Research has shown that brain breaks can have numerous benefits for tamariki in schools. They can help to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can improve cognitive function and concentration. Brain breaks can also reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mood and behaviour in the classroom. 

Why this activity?

You will know all about brain breaks, but sometimes it’s good to have a few newbies up your sleeve to keep things fresh. These are 3 of our best!

You'll need

Your groovy tamariki and sometimes to make use of a sunny day.

What to do

Plan for a brain break roughly every 30 minutes to support tamariki to re-focus. We would suggest that these activities support tamariki to work together and support their positive relationships (rather than be competitive).

Three of our fave brain breaks:


  • Running as a group -  You could do this on the spot, or on the field. This could almost a be bit military style - mauī (left), katau (right), keeping tamariki relatively close together. This one will get their heart rate up and endorphins running through their tinana. 

  • Tamariki yogi’s - You might ask tamariki to paint rainbows with their noses, move between a ngeru (cat) and kau (cow) pose, try some downward facing kurī and kurī harikoa (happy dog aka three legged kuru)!

  • Set the energy levels - Kōrero about energy levels you need at the beginning and as they change during learning tine. Continuum's are a great way to do this. Who’s got high energy on one end, who’s got low energy on the other (1 to 5). Where do we need to be as a group to complete this learning? Who’s there to pass on their contagious energy that matches the situation? Energy is contagious, so hang with each other to reset or build energy.

  • Prime some positive emotions - Have a think about how you’d like tamariki to feel during this activity and set the brain break to prime this. You could use our emotions bubbles to support this kōrero. Here are some examples:


    • Calm - do some puku breathing

    • Amazed - head to the window or outside to look at the bigness of Ranginui 

    • Peaceful - remember a peaceful moment you’ve had together, re-conjure this

    • Energised - add some music and kanikani

Kaiako card

To make things easier, refer to or print the kaiako card.

Whānau engagement

As yet, we haven’t created anything to support whānau learning about brain breaks (but we should)!. Instead it might be really helpful just to encourage whānau to talk about emotions to support emotional literacy. To support tamariki to have this kōrero print off the emotion bubbles for tamariki as a take-home activity (cut out, display or use as kōrero cards). This only about planting the seed hey? Who knows what will grow.!

And to add to this...

Some mindful coloring pages are another great way to have a brain break and can be just what tamariki need to de-stress find calm, we have some great coloring activities you can try with Ngahuru Mindful Colouring and our Aotearoa Manu sheet we released with te wiki tiaki ao tūroa fun

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum   

Personal Health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development

 Movement concepts and motor skills: B1 - Movement skills

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