Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dance Brain Breaks


With another school year rolling around, this is a good time to have some quick tricks handy whenever the children (or you!) need a quick break and energizer:  a Dance Brain Break!

Here are three lively ideas (Start Fidgeting, Gestures, and Up and Down with Counting) that take very little space and can be done whenever and wherever needed.
(adapted from my Redleaf e-news article Just Add Movement:  Five Activities That Can Turn Squirming Into Learning)


Fidget Different Parts of the Body:

Say to the children, "Can you fidget your arm?  Your thumb?  Your heel?  Your tongue?  Your legs (both at the same time?)?  Your  torso?  Your head? (etc.)  Then say, "Try to fidget as many body parts as you can at the same time!"

Fidget and Freeze:

Say to the children, "Everyone fidget and squirm as much as you can while standing in one place. But when I say 'freeze,' everyone do the opposite, and stand as

still as possible."  Repeat several times. 

Then add counts:  "Can you fidget for 8 counts?" (freeze in between).  "Can you fidget for 10 counts?  Can you fidget for 2 counts?

Fast and Slow Fidgets:

"First fidget as slowly as you can, like a slow motion action scene in a movie.  Even blink in slow motion!

Now squirm and fidget as fast as you can!"

Repeat several times.

Good-Bye, Fidgets!

To finish the brain break fidgeting activity, ask everyone to wave good-bye to their fidgets.  "Wave good-bye with your hand, then your foot, then your knee, then your head, etc., and then try to wave them all at the same time!  'Say, good-bye fidgets'!" 

Optional: Play an upbeat song or instrumental like "Shakers" by Debbie Clement for this part of the activity.


Have children think of as many gestures as they can. Ask them if they can think of ways to say things with their bodies instead of their voices; for example, by shrugging their shoulders, pointing, shaking or nodding their head, making faces, stomping their feet, or hugging. Ask children to try to have a short conversation using only gestures. If you wish to extend the idea, set a time limit, perhaps fifteen minutes, during which everyone can communicate only with gestures.



This is a quick game to grab the attention of little ones, and is a good way to get children sitting on the floor for a seated activity. Make sure the children are at least an arm's width apart from each other. Ask them if they can get from standing to sitting in five slow counts, using all five counts to get to the floor. Once they’re on the floor, ask them to repeat the activity, this time going from sitting to standing. Then reduce the count to four slow beats, and then three etc. When you get to the "one" count, slow down even more so that the children are falling in a safe, controlled way, catching themselves gently with their hands, and then repeat the single count up and down several times, finishing with the children sitting on the floor.

Expand the idea by starting with a higher number.  Another idea is to count forward on the way down, and backward on the way up.  Repeat several times for a quick workout!

Keep on Dancin',


Copyright 2013 Connie Bergstein Dow

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