Take A Break: Games For An Active Class

Taking short breaks allows us to maintain focus on a task, a study outlined on the University of Illinois’ News Bureau explains. We often expect children to concentrate on a lesson for an hour or more, and get frustrated when they lose focus. If you have an active class or cater to students who have difficulty managing their behaviour, this can be a real problem in the classroom, particularly if you are also teaching children who may be new to formal education, as is often the case in an Indian school. Breaking up activities with short, well-managed breaks can improve focus and concentration throughout the day, and whole-class games are a great way to facilitate that.

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The Benefits

As well as breaking up activities, ensuring a focused and productive working environment, games can have a huge impact on children’s social, emotional and sensory development. While they’re having fun, they’re developing in ways they’re unaware of, and these are benefits that can have a great impact on a child’s school life. They can also be a great way of practising English, although, of course, you can choose to play all the games in Hindi or in the regional language of your school. There are reams of games and resources available that will help you choose the right games for your class. You can even address specific issues - such as involving children who have difficulties developing friendships - through your use of games in the classroom. Many classroom games don’t require additional equipment, making them accessible even in under-resourced schools.

It’s important to choose games that work for your class; games you can easily incorporate into the learning day with minimum disruption.

Silent Ball

Silent Ball is an excellent game to encourage children to focus while maintaining a quiet classroom (you’ll need a tennis ball for this game). If your school has difficulty accessing resources, you could use something else in place of a ball - an item of clothing, or a rubber perhaps.

Memory Games

Memory games, such as a round-the-class game of I packed my suitcase, and in it I put… are a great way to encourage speaking and listening: each player adds an item to the suitcase and must remember everything that everyone else has said along the way. This one is an excellent way of practising English, as you can teach new vocabulary as you go along.

Heads Down, Thumbs Up

‘Heads Down, Thumbs Up’ is another fabulous quiet game, in which children are asked to put their heads down on the desk with their thumbs in the air. Four children are then chosen to creep round the room and gently pinch a thumb each. The children whose thumbs were picked must then guess who pinched their thumb.

Silly Sausages

‘Silly Sausages’ is a wonderful way of bringing some laughter into the break: bring one pupil to the front and get them to turn away and close their eyes. Silently point to other children in the class and get them to disguise their voice and say, ‘Silly sausages’ - or any other phrase of your choosing. The child at the front has to guess who said the phrase. This is another game you could use to sneak in some language practise - try substituting vocabulary you’re teaching to consolidate their grasp on it.

There are a wealth of classroom games to choose from, but one thing's for sure: children need breaks, and your classroom environment will certainly benefit from allowing them.

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