Everyone needs a break in their day. This is true whether students are learning in the classroom (in person) or taking part in a virtual classroom and learning from a distance. Brain breaks are a healthy strategy to help kids and teens clear their minds, refocus, and start fresh.
As a bonus, mindful brain breaks are more than a quick break between academic tasks. They are actually a coping skill kids and teens can take with them wherever they go. By learning techniques for mindfulness, students can work to improve self-regulation skills, manage tough emotions, and develop a sense of calm in challenging times.
In particular, I’m a huge fan of brain breaks with a nature focus. Why? Nature is naturally calming. Everything from the feel of the wind to the sound of the birds singing brings about a sense of calm. Venturing off into nature to calm down is great, but sometimes we don’t always have that luxury. That’s where brain breaks with a nature theme come in.
It’s worth mentioning that all of the brain breaks listed below come from a Mindfulness Brain Breaks for Nature set you can grab and use with your learners. They are printable and digital, making it easy for you to use in the classroom or virtually.
Get started with mindfulness nature break breaks with your learners.
In the meantime, here are are 8 mindful brain breaks you can use with your learners (or just for yourself!) right away:
Mindful Observance. Pick any object around you. This can be anything from a water bottle to a book. Of course, it’s even better if you can choose an object from nature, such as a leaf, rock, or stick. Focus all of your attention on that object. Think about what it looks like, what shapes it contains, how it moves, and even how it makes you feel. Keep focusing on that object for at least two minutes.
Feelings of Gratitude. Sit comfortably. Breathe in and out. List 10 things in nature you are grateful for. You can say them out loud or write them down. Picture them in your mind as you think of them.
Be the Hawk. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Imagine you are a hawk flying over land. Imagine what you can see, smell, hear, feel, and taste as you fly. Breathe in and out as you imagine this.
Like a Plant. Stand up tall like a growing plant. Stretch up to the sky and hold your pose. Think about all the ways you have grown in the past year. Release and come back to normal. Try again three more times.
Butterfly Breathing. Imagine you are a beautiful butterfly with colorful wings. Use your arms to pretend you are flapping your wings as you breathe in and out slowly.
Rainforest Visualization. Imagine you are standing in a rainforest filled with green plants and waterfalls rushing over rocks. Just breathe. Think about what you can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.
Songbird. Imagine you are a bird perched on a branch overlooking a vast green forest. Quietly hum a song to yourself as you slowly breathe in and out.
Floating on a Cloud. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and imagine you are floating on top of a cloud. Relax all of your muscles and let the cloud control your weight. If you can, feel free to try this while lying down!
Remember that brain breaks should be simple and fun. While they might seem “silly” at first, practicing them a few times can provide kids and teens with the quick break they need to get back to learning their best.