Give Kids’ Brains a Break with Music

The Electric Slide, The Cha-Cha Slide, and The Macarena can impact kids’ brains in a powerful way…and probably not in the way you may think. Music and movement “brain breaks” can actually improve attentiveness, concentration, and focus. (Yes! Even The Macarena.) Brain breaks can also help kids discover new solutions—or THE solution—to a problem.

So, the next time the kids in your life need a break, try one of these at home or in the classroom!

4 Quick and Easy Music and Movement Brain Breaks

  • 5-4-3-2-1. In this game, children perform 5 different movements in descending order. For example, a teacher or parent says: Clap your hands five times. Hop four times. Spin around three times. Stomp two times. Jump one time. Pause between each number to allow time for every child to process the instruction and do it.
  • Sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” This gets kids moving and stretching. Plus, movement paired with the word also supports vocabulary development!
  • Play Freeze Dance. Put on a favorite song and tell children to dance or move around until the music stops. When the music stops, they must stop, too. This brain break game also gives children the opportunity to practice inhibitory control.
  • Look at pictures of cute baby animals. This one isn’t a musical brain break, but kids love looking at baby animals. (Who doesn’t?!) A Japanese research study showed that looking at all of those cute baby animals actually increases concentration and attentiveness! To make it musical, listen to music while you gaze at the cuteness.

Want more musical brain break ideas for your family? Visit a local Kindermusik class and we’ll give you enough to last throughout the week!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell a freelance writer in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.

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