Brain Break #29: The Name Game!?

Wahoo! I could literally sit down and blog for days and days and days about Brain Breaks. Gosh… 

Last week, episode 18 of my podcast Teaching La Vida Loca dropped. It included my FAVORITE Brain Breaks for the start of the year. These are Brain Breaks that focus on building community, LEARNING NAMES, and setting up those essential systems and routines that I need for classroom management purposes. 

The Name Game was one of these! I can’t remember where I learned this one, but students LOVE IT! To be clear, ALL ages LOVE it!!

Brain Break #29

Get your students to stand up and form circles. It is best to have circles that are pretty even. I don’t like having more than 10 students in a circle. In my largest classes last year, I had three circles going at the same time. 

Grab a ball or plushy toy for each circle, and hand it to ONE person in the circle. They are the person that the object starts and ends with. They pass the object to someone else in the circle (preferably NOT somone on either side of them- but sometimes that can’t be avoided) and as they pass it, they say that person’s name. Emphasize tossing underhand so it is easy to catch. 

That person then catches it and passes it to someone else, saying their name. Then, they pass it to another person, and on and on until EVERYONE has had the ball/object. The last person passes it back to the person who started with it. Then,

The pattern repeats…


and again,

and again!

Add A New Object To The Brain Break

Once you see that the circles have the rhythms down, you pass in another object. They continue passing this new object in the SAME pattern, while still using their name (it is called the “Name Game” after all!) It also helps kids look up for the object that is coming their way. 

When I pass a new object in, I try to time it so that the two objects are timed apart so kids aren’t throwing one right after the other. 

Remember that underhand toss??? You REALLY want to hype this up with littles because the goal is to get MORE objects passed in. My 3rd graders are SOOO excited with this game that they can’t keep their little bodies calm! They’re wiggling around and dancing, and I have to remind them EVERY time we play about calm bodies and underhand throws. 

I introduced the name game in week 4 of school, but I honestly would’ve played this Brain Break with older students (MS and HS) MUCH sooner. It was too important to me to have all the expectations established before I had elementary kiddos throwing things in my room! LOL 

Name Game In Action

Still not ready to share videos of my current students. I’ll be working on getting consent forms when I return from the UK!  I am writing this in the car while Daddy drives us to SW Wales for my grandma’s funeral tomorrow.  I feel so grateful to be here!

Sending you love! And until next time,

Happy Teaching!



P.S. Do you wanna experience this first hand? Sign up for one of my upcoming workshops! I’ll be in Dallas, TX on the 1st of October and just outside of Perry, OH on November 5th!

(Poor daddy didn’t know I was taking this!)