The Power of Brain Breaks and Movement for Children with ADHD and Beyond


When creating an engaging and dynamic learning environment for children, we have to think of ways to incorporate brain breaks and movement. These activities, whether in or outside the classroom, are especially beneficial for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but can also enhance the learning experience for all students.

What Are Brain Breaks and Movement?

Brain breaks are short, intentional downtime periods, ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes, allowing children to rest and recharge their mental batteries. Movement can be different physical activities integrated into the learning process. Both are crucial for improving cognitive performance and maintaining students’ focus and engagement in the classroom.

The Importance of Brain Breaks and Movement for Children with ADHD

Children with ADHD often experience challenges related to attention and hyperactivity. By incorporating brain breaks and movement into the classroom, educators can support these students and provide added benefits:

  • Enhanced focus: Brain breaks, and movement activities help children take a step back from their learning tasks, so their minds can reset and regain focus when they return to the task at hand.
  • Improved memory and retention: Physical activity can help boost the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports memory and learning. Children can improve their memory and retention by incorporating movement into the learning process.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: By incorporating brain breaks and movement, children can feel more relaxed, lowering their anxiety levels and helping them concentrate and absorb new information better. 
  • Improved behavior and impulse control: These activities can help children burn off excess energy, leading to improved behavior and impulse control. 

The Benefits of Brain Breaks and Movement for All Students

While brain breaks and movement are beneficial for children with ADHD, they can also provide significant benefits for all students:

  • Increased engagement: These activities often re-energize students, making them more receptive to new information and helps keep them engaged in the learning process.
  • Enhanced creativity: Taking breaks and participating in these activities can boost creativity by allowing students to shift their perspectives and approach problems differently. 
  • Improved social skills: Participating in group movement activities can help develop students’ teamwork, cooperation, and communication skills. 
  • Better physical health: Incorporating short physical activity into the classroom can promote a more active lifestyle, leading to long-term physical and mental health benefits for all students. 

Incorporating Brain Breaks and Movement into Home Learning Environments

While teachers can easily incorporate these activities into the classroom, parents can adapt these strategies to support learning at home. Here are some simple ways to introduce brain breaks and movement into your child’s home learning routine:

  • Set a schedule with regular breaks: Whether your child is engaged in remote learning or doing homework, schedule frequent brain breaks to help them maintain focus and energy. A timer can help signal when it’s time for a break. 
  • Encourage stretching or yoga: Teach your child a simple stretching sequence or a short yoga practice that they can do during breaks. These activities further promote relaxation and mindfulness and improve concentration. 
  • Take breaks together: Use break time as an opportunity to bond with your child by engaging in activities together. You could do stretches together or go for a short walk. 
  • Establish a designated movement space: Designate a specific area in your home for movement and physical activity. This space should have items encouraging movement, such as a small trampoline, exercise ball, or a hula hoop.
  • Encourage outdoor activities: Whenever possible, encourage your child to participate in outdoor activities like playing catch, riding a bike, or going for a nature walk. These activities provide physical exercise while also exposing them to fresh air and sunlight, which can improve mood and focus. 

Try Brain Breaks and Movement This School Year

Integrating brain breaks and movement in the classroom can significantly improve the learning experience for children with ADHD and beyond. By implementing these strategies, parents can create a supportive and engaging home learning environment incorporating brain breaks and movement. 

These activities support cognitive development and help children develop crucial life skills such as creativity, social skills, and teamwork. All while contributing to a child’s overall well-being and development.