The Importance of Movement in the Classroom


I was speaking with a fellow educator recently about her biggest challenges in the classroom. She mentioned that many of the children have a very difficult time being seated for extended periods of time during the day. Although she teaches in a middle school setting, I thought that this idea was also relevant to the younger kiddos as well! We know the importance of taking breaks and getting the children to move, but I wanted to see if there was more we could be doing.

I did some research and came across a 2009 article from Julian Reed that discusses the importance of an active education. By incorporating more physical activity into our lessons, we may help engage more children, especially those of who are kinesthetic learners. I will list a few examples below of some of the ideas this researcher had, and I encourage you to think about how you can get your students up and moving more throughout the day!

  • Have a parade: This can be used for the alphabet, colors, sounds, shapes, animals, etc. Students will act out or say their assigned word.
  • Dice: Create a large dice and color coordinate cards to match an activity. (ex: jump, wave hello, count to 5)
  • Simon says: I use this when counting. (“Simon says take 5 hops”)
  • Dance & Sing: To learn days of the week, or how to put on shoes

These are basic ideas, but the best part about movement is that it does not need to be very extravagant. Children will appreciate the “up time” and may not even realize that they are learning so much along the way.

Reed, Julian A. Active Education : Lessons for Integrating Physical Activity with Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2009. EBSCOhost,