Thinking Warm ups: 10 Free Ideas for 2014

To get 2014 off to a Thinking Start  - here are some quick ideas for you to use straight away in the new term.


They can be used as:

  • Lesson starters – as a way to warm up the brain and focus attention.  They also allow for children to talk to each other at the start of the day – but in a way you have structured rather than ‘random chat’.
  • Brain breaks – when you know children have ‘glazed over’ and need a change of pace. They can provide a sort of ‘Thinking Playtime’
  • As ‘fillers’ - for children to complete individually or in pairs when other tasks have been completed.


Starter for thinking

They are a mixture of Starters for Thinking questions and literacy challenges and they all provide valuable opportunities for practising speaking and listening skills


It is the short frequent bursts of this type of activity that will build children’s confidence: the ability to ‘have a go’ because there are no wrong answers; they are time bound, have no formal written expectations. Oh, and they are fun to do.





1.  Name 10 things you can’t take a photograph of.


2.  Take in three objects that are similar in some way (e.g. cups/mugs or pictures of different dogs) - but also have differences.

Ask children to spend a couple of minutes thinking of as many things that are different about them as they can.

Then repeat – 2 minutes to think of as many things that are the same.


3.  Describe somebody / something in only 3 words. This can be from a photograph of someone famous or someone in school or a child’s family. Children start off by brainstorming as many words as they can think of that they associate with that person. Then trim it down to what they consider to be the 3 most important /powerful words to describe them.


4.  Play a piece of music: If this were a place, where would it be?  What three ‘emotion’ words does it make you think of?



Sally & Stan_2

5.  Write the middle or endings of words. Children have to guess what they could be.

E.g. _ _ _ ch              _ _ ayo _    You can decide to make it more difficult by not providing the blank spaces – just ‘This is from a 6 letter word…'




6.  What if all the cars in the world were replaced by bicycles?  What might happen?




7.  List all the advantages and disadvantages of the ipad (or mobile phone).



8.  Give children some tongue twisters and ask them to make one of their own:

Examples: Double bubble gum bubbles double.       

                   Does this shop stock short spotty socks?

                   Sixty-six sick chicks

                   Pre-shrunk shirts

                   Truly rural   


9.  How many different ways are there for you to communicate with your friends?


10.  What sticker slogan might you see written on the back of a postman?  Or a headteacher?  Or a popstar?


For more ideas like these and a set of 50 Starters for Thinking Outdoors - visit the website:


Lets Think Homework

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