Incorporating exercise and movement throughout the school day increases students’ performance in school. It helps students to be less fidgety and more focused. Many studies suggest that regular physical activity supports healthy child development by improving memory, concentration and a positive outlook. (source: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/move-body-grow-brain-donna-wilson)
Here are 9 ways to incorporate movement activities into your classroom:
- Start the day off right with a morning movement activity! Set aside 10 minutes every morning for a simple series of yoga movements. This will grab your students’ attention and help them concentrate right from the started. Creative Yoga Exercises for Children incorporates relatable animal movements that are easy for the children to learn.
- Teach math skills through music and movement activities. For example, the song “Draw a Square/Walk a Square” uses music to instruct children to draw shapes in the air and then get up and walk the outline of those shapes.
- Incorporate physical activity into core lessons. For example, practice spelling words while getting some exercise. Have students spell words aloud, doing one jumping jack for each letter. This works with reciting the alphabet, or counting by fives and tens as well.
- Review recently learned science facts in a fun, active way! Have students form a circle, with one holding a ball. Ask a question. After the student answers correctly, s/he can choose a classmate and toss the ball to him or her. This also works with reading comprehension questions as well.
- Play True/False Line Up. Instruct your students to stand shoulder to shoulder. Give them a fact you have studied. If students think the fact is true, they will take one step forward; if they think it is false, they will take one step back.
- Keep a Bag of Fun. Write a variety of movement-based activities—frog jumps, jumping jacks and hopping on one foot—onto small pieces of paper or wooden blocks. Several times during the day, have a student draw one out of the bag and lead the entire class in that exercise.
- Create a multiple choice content questions scavenger hunt. Label the corners of your classroom with the letters A, B, C, and D. Ask the kids a content question or an opinion question and then they move to the corresponding corner to show you their answer. Every now and then move the letters around for a little variety.
- Schedule short mind breaks throughout the day. Add variety to your breaks using motor activities to stimulate the sensorimotor growth of young elementary school children. Clap, Snap and Tap uses music to motivate students with finger snapping, rhythmic hand and arm movements, finger exercises, cooperative cross hand patting and various other exercises.
- Recognize when the students need to take a break. Every class needs a break from time to time especially after a long intense lesson or on a rainy indoor recess day. When it seems as though your students are ready for a break, pop in an interactive dance or sports DVD such as The Silly Willy Workout . They’ll return to their seats energized and able to focus.