How to Incorporate Movement in the Classroom

Kids need to MOVE! We know this is a fact. Plus, scientifically speaking, movement helps improve learning, too. For this reason, it is so important to get our students up and moving during class time! Unfortunately, with so much content to get through, this can be difficult to do. Today I’m sharing 3 of my favorite, super easy ways to add movement in the classroom without interrupting instruction time.

Obviously, brain breaks are important – small instructional breaks taken throughout the day so students don’t get burned out. But, often times, brain breaks aren’t enough to keep our kiddos focused on instruction. My tips are not only easy to implement, but can incorporate instruction, too!

1. Add movement to worksheets by playing musical chairs.

incorporate movement in the classroom with musical chairs

One of my absolute favorite ways to bring movement in the classroom is by playing musical chairs. Worksheets, while not all bad, are among the least engaging classroom activities. This twist not only gets kids up and moving, but also makes a worksheet way more fun!

How to play:

  1. To start, each student gets a worksheet and writes his or her name on it.
  2. At their desks, each student completes the first problem.
  3. Once finished, students stand up and walk around the room as music plays.
  4. When the music stops, they sit down at the desk closest to them and solve the next problem.
  5. Repeat until all problems have been solved.
  6. Students return to their desk and check all problems done on their worksheet, correcting any they believe are not right.

2. Get students out of their seats with Partner Up!

incorporate movement in the classroom with partner up

Another way that I love to incorporate movement in the classroom, and foster a collaborative learning environment, is by playing Partner Up! In this activity, students are assigned a word/picture/topic/etc. and walk around the room to find a partner (or group) that matches them. Some ideas for using this are:

  • Vocabulary – One student is a word, another is the definition. You could also add in a third student that is a picture.
  • Place Value – Numbers written in standard, word, expanded, and/or unit form. Students group up according to number.
  • Arrays/Equal Groups – One student has an array or equal groups picture, one has a number sentence.
  • Historical Figures and Events – One student has a date, another student has an event that happened on that date, and a third person has the name of a significant person involved in that event. (i.e. Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863).
  • States of Matter – Each student has an item, and students group up according to whether each item is a solid, liquid, or gas.

These are just a few ideas of how you can use this game in different content areas. There are so many more! To play, just give each student a card with a word/phrase/picture on it, and give them time to find their partner. If desired, have the students switch cards after playing and play again!

3. Incorporate movement in the classroom with charades.

incorporate movement in the classroom with shape charades

Another way I love to incorporate movement in the classroom is with charades. Charades can be played in any content area. It is a great way to practice vocabulary and encourage students to be creative!

In some cases, you may want to have students work in groups to act out a particular idea or concept as it may be too hard for one student to do on their own. For example, it might be difficult for a student to act out the word “fourths” on their own, but it’s pretty easy with four people!

Charades works well with vocabulary words, numbers, shapes, people, and events. You can also get creative and have students act out story problems!

Want some low prep, ready-made math games that get your kids moving? Click here to view my Math in Motion games on Teachers Pay Teachers!

How do you incorporate movement in your classroom?


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