Five Ways to Get Kids Moving in the Classroom
Summertime is always full of exciting activities for kids. Whether it’s swimming at the local pool, going to soccer camp for the weekend or just heading out on a family walk, it’s easy to stay active when the sun is shining and you’ve got nothing but free time.
But alas, September is just a couple short weeks away, and that means it’s time to return to the classroom! Even though school frequently comes with long hours of sitting in class, it’s important to find ways to keep active and continue on with healthy lifestyle habits.
And that’s where we come in! There are tons of strategies to incorporate more movement in class, thus improving the learning environment and keeping health a priority for the younger generations. Without further ado, here’s five ways to get kids moving in the classroom:
This is a great one that any classroom can easily implement. If there’s ever a time when you have a brief lull in your lesson plan, or if kids are getting visibly restless and worked up, try a quick fitness break! These sessions really only need to last a couple of minutes at most, so they won’t take away from teaching time and are extremely easy to carry out on the fly. Simply get children to stop what they’re doing, stand up and complete a minute of a designated activity on the spot. Great ideas include jumping jacks, running on the spot or a dance party to a popular song. These brief fitness breaks are just enough to release some extra energy without being a huge hassle as a teacher.
Including active furniture in classroom design allows movement to be incorporated directly into student workflow. There are a wide variety of pieces available, including items like active seating solutions, height-adjustable standing desks, pedal desks and more. For example, KidsFit carries a range of desks that have active elements like pedals or steppers, and VARIDESK Education recently came out with a new line of standing desks that can double as a dry-erase surface. With solutions such as these, students and teachers don’t have to sacrifice productive class time to get in valuable movement. Pretty great, right?
It’s very common for children to be fidgety in class when they can’t focus or have extra energy that needs to be released. Rather than discouraging such movement, why not encourage it in a productive, non-disruptive way? With fidgets such as the Portable or Attachable FootFidget, students can bounce their legs up and down without shaking the ground or making a lot of noise.
Certain active seating solutions also lend themselves well to fidgeting. For example, the Zenergy Ball Chair is a great option to let kids bounce and release energy while they work. This kind of purposeful motion will help them focus better and not distract from the teacher’s lesson.
Why not make your lessons themselves more active? While not all class material lends itself well to active learning, there are definitely ways to make a lesson more engaging rather than a simple lecture style. Instead of just talking about a science concept or historical event, get kids to try to act it out. Set up stations around your classroom that require kids to move from one spot to the next in order to learn about a process or different categories. Create an active game that teaches kids a concept where they need to stand up or move around in order to answer questions. These are but a few examples of lesson plans that include activity; the only thing limiting you to incorporating this kind of movement is your own imagination!
Finally, whenever you can, take the lesson outdoors! While this is more difficult to achieve due to time or weather constraints, it doesn’t have to be a massive field trip to be effective. Walking out to the playground to teach something about physics or out to the park to teach something about nature can be sufficient. This gets kids out and walking, which is a valuable bit of time away from the sedentary classroom desk.
With summer drawing to a close, these strategies will be important as we move into another school year. However you choose to spend time in the classroom, make health, movement and active learning a priority - parents AND students will thank you!