Brain break or calm down activities? This is the question I have been asking myself this year after teaching my sweet first graders. I am lucky that we have a mindfulness teacher in the school where I teach. I asked him for some help, and he graciously offered to come sit and observe my students in my class. After observing my class he noticed that I have been using a lot of brain breaks that will leave my students with high energy, which doesn’t really help this group of active first graders maintain focus during the rest of the class period.

This is what he suggested I do:

  1. Calming Scents: He mentioned to me that this age group is highly affected by their environment. He suggested that having calming scents such as lavender, lemon or peppermint might help.
  2. Sounds: Playing relaxing music or natural sounds such as rainforest or waterfalls as they enter my classroom might help lower their energy levels.
  3. Slow movement activities: Play slow music in the room and have them pretend to be different things in nature. Visuals will be handy for this. For example, a cloud, a slow elephant, a bird and so on (and this also gives a fun opportunity to reinforce some vocabulary or teach new words).
  4. Breathing movements: Encourage movement activities that require students to inhale and exhale while sitting down or walking around the room.

Here are some visuals that might be helpful to have in your room.

Just ask your students to close their eyes quietly for a minute or more. Setting a timer or using a chime might help to let your students know that the time is up!
“Smell the flowers” is a good visual to encourage students to breathe deeply.
“Blow out the candles” is a great visual to practice exhaling fully.
I ask my students to pretend they are holding a flower in one hand and
a candle in the other, and we alternate when inhaling and exhaling.
Just play soft music or relaxing sounds in class.
Practicing some yoga poses might help your students get rid of their wiggles.

Stop by Mundo de Pepita to learn more about creating a calm classroom!

More yoga ideas for your class:

Five Yoga Poses for Spanish Class

Yoga Story in Spanish

Needing something different than calm down activities? I have tons of active, energizing brain breaks activities on my blog, too:

Movement cards

Brain Breaks for Spanish Class

Five Zumba Routines

Enjoy!