Brain Breaks for the classroom are a great way to start class, help your students calm down, or simply infuse creativity into your day. Use these 15 brain breaks for the classroom with your students today! This post includes a free download of art brain breaks to use in your class.
Brain Breaks are a creative way to refocus, unload emotions, engage different parts of the brain, and shift energy. All that’s needed is some paper or a sketchbook, plus a writing tool, and whatever art supplies you have in your classroom or lying around your house.
You can use brain breaks for the classroom to get your students’ creative juices flowing, help them wind down at the end of class, as an activity for early finishers, or as their very own art project.
Brain Breaks for the Classroom
Circles of Mind Brain Break
- Fill your page with circles of any size
- Add color to the page (watercolor, colored pencil, marker)
- Write down whatever is on your mind. Don’t think about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or structure – just write. The goal is to keep your writing tool moving the entire time. It could be even the same word over and over! Try to get all your thoughts on the paper.
Find a Stranger in a Photo Brain Break
- After locating a photo of someone you don’t know, name them
- Write their story
Where I’m From Brain Break
- Write poem about where you come from
- Include details about your personal history/your past
Write a Letter to Yourself Brain Break
- Write to yourself looking back from 10 years in the future
- What would you want to tell yourself?
- Stamp to make background
- Cover with watercolor
- Write a journal entry on top of the previous layers
- Cut letters from a magazine to spell out 1 word
- Color shapes with oil pastels
- Turn the page upside-down to write your journal entry
- Add a border to tie everything together
17 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do Anymore Brain Break
- Make your list of 17 things you’re not allowed to do
- Variation: Change the number of items or the the subject of the list
- Arrange the items creatively as you write them
- This activity inspired by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (affiliate link)
Alter Image Brain Break
- Find an interesting photo or magazine pic
- Tape it down to cover entire page
- Cover portions of the image with gesso or acrylic paint
- Journal on the gesso or painted portion
Notes to Self Brain Break
- Write notes to self on the page
- Incorporate various random objects in creative ways (paper clips, washi tape, snack wrappers, sticky notes, stickers, etc.)
Scratch Into Paint Brain Break
- Paint thickly on page, scratch images or words into the paint
- Variation: Paint one thin layer of paint and let it dry, then add a thick layer of paint in another color, and scratch into the thick layer
Texture Brain Break
- Cut pages/images of texture out of magazines
- Cover the entire page
- While playing music, close your eyes and use a Sharpie to mark on the page according to how the music makes you feel
- On the same page, use the same Sharpie (or use a different color) to write the first 3 words that pop into your mind.
Mind Map Brain Break
- Write down various things that are on your mind, in medium to large size
- Connect the words in some fashion
- In another color and/or medium, journal over, around, and in between the existing words
Random Picture Brain Break
- Choose 1 picture from a magazine, book, newspaper, or personal photo
- Arrange it on the page in such a way that it looks as if it is coming off the page
- Add oil pastel
- Add paint
- Incorporate masking tape
- Write a RANDOM word
- Draw a random tiny picture somewhere
Word Emphasis Brain Break
- Cut a portion of scrapbook paper to cover page.
- Choose 1 word, write on page
- Using a ballpoint pen or Sharpie, journal around the word
- Paint a pattern over the whole page with watercolor
- Add some sort of border
Covering Fear Brain Break
- Write something that you fear or that irritates you
- Cover it with paint, colored pencil, crayon, or words
- Write how that thing makes you feel (use various words and phrases to describe the feelings)
- Connect the words with lines, shapes, drawings, etc.
Varied Pictures Brain Break
- Lay various objects on the table
- Loosely sketch the entire scene
- Draw lightly, making a loose sketch
- Next, draw over with darker strokes this time
- Add color
- Draw tiny pictures of scenes on other tables
- Incorporate tape
- Write something that frustrates you
Share your Art Brain Breaks for the Classroom with us on Instagram. 📸
15 Art Brain Breaks
Get a PDF with 15 creative art brain breaks to use in your classroom. Help students focus, reset, and create.
I just wanted to tell you that finding your site just made my day! The ideas I found for my classroom (presented so colorfully) are amazing! I cannot imagine all the time and effort you have expended for this project. As a full time, in person, multi-subject jr/sr high teacher (HS Art, JHS Art, JRHS FACS, Culinary Arts, Yearbook and Personal Finance) in a small school in Montana, I REALLY appreciate all the ideas and materials on your site. Thank you from my whole heart!
Wow! Thank you so much!
I tried to download the free brain breaks but it won’t work. I love the ideas.
Look for it in your email inbox!
Fantastic site, very useful.I loved the Art brain breaks ideas.