Getting Kids Physically Active at School|| How to Get Kids More Active in Your Primary School


You know the problem—kids today just aren't moving enough. Recess and gym class have been cut, and after the final bell rings, most kids head straight home to do their homework, play video games, scroll through social media, or veg out in front of the TV. As teachers and administrators, we need to find ways to combat this trend and get our students active during the school day. The benefits of exercise for both physical and mental health are huge, especially for growing children and teens. More activity means better focus in class, improved test scores, better sleep, and a host of other positives. The solution isn't complicated—we just need to get creative about building more movement into the daily routine. Small changes can go a long way toward creating healthier habits and shaping students for life. The time is now to make a difference in your school. Let's get moving!

Rethinking Recess: Making the Most of Break Times

Getting kids active during recess and break times is key. As teachers, you have the power to make the most of those minutes and here are some easy ways to do it:

Rethink recess equipment. Get creative with the equipment available to inspire kids to move. Things like hula hoops, jump ropes, balls and frisbees are easy to use and fun for solo or group play.

Set up activity zones. Designate areas of the playground for specific activities like a basketball zone, hopscotch zone, soccer zone. This makes it easy for kids to join in activities that interest them.

Lead group games. Get involved and lead some group games like Simon Says, Dance Party, Freeze Dance or Jump Rope Challenge. Kids will have a blast following your lead.

Provide activity challenges. Issue challenges like ‘Do 10 jumping jacks’, ‘Run 2 laps around the playground’ or ‘Do a silly dance for your friends’. Offer small prizes for kids who complete them.

Most importantly, be an active role model. Join in games and activities with students. Your participation and enthusiasm will inspire them to do the same.

With some strategic tweaks to equipment, space and activities, you can transform recess into an opportunity for kids to get their much-needed dose of physical activity and fun. Every minute of movement counts, so make the most of break times and get your students up and active!

Creative Classroom Activities to Get Kids Moving

Getting kids moving during class time is easier than you think. Here are a few creative activities to get your students active and having fun while they learn:

  • Have students act out stories or concepts they're learning about. For example, have them physically demonstrate the water cycle, the solar system, or how plants grow. This helps cement lessons in their memory through movement.

-Play academic games that require physical activity, like vocabulary hopscotch, math relay races, or geography scavenger hunts. The kids will be so engaged, they won't even realize they're exercising!

-Get students up and moving during lessons by incorporating activities like running in place, jumping jacks, or marching. Even just standing up, stretching, and walking around the classroom can provide a quick burst of energy and help refocus attention.

-Take the class outside for lessons when possible. Do science experiments, art projects, or read stories together outside. The fresh air and open space make it much more likely kids will move around and burn off energy.

-Most importantly, be an active role model. When you incorporate movement into your own teaching, it shows students that physical activity and learning can absolutely go together. Your enthusiasm will inspire them to get up and get moving!

With some creativity, you can easily add short physical activities into your classroom routine. Keep lessons fun and engaging, give students opportunities to move, and be an active role model yourself. In no time, your class will be filled with students who see exercise and education as partners, not opposites.

After-School Programs and Clubs to Promote Physical Activity

After-school sports teams

Organizing after-school sports teams is a great way to encourage kids to get active. Set up teams for sports that don’t require a lot of equipment or space, like soccer, basketball, volleyball or track and field. You can find basic equipment and uniforms at little cost. Get students, teachers, parents and community members involved as volunteer coaches and referees. Promote the teams through school newsletters, announcements and social media to attract participants.

Fitness and dance clubs

For kids not interested in traditional team sports, fitness and dance clubs are excellent options. Set up a running club, yoga club or Zumba club. These types of activities can be done with little equipment and space. Students can take turns leading the clubs under the guidance of a teacher or parent volunteer. Play upbeat music to keep things fun and energetic. Consider organizing school dance teams or flash mobs to perform at school events.

Competitions and field days

Organize competitions, challenges and field days focused on physical activities. Set up relay races, obstacle courses, tug-of-war, hula hoop or jump rope competitions. Arrange the students into teams to compete against each other. Hand out small prizes to the winning teams to make it exciting. Field days with multiple games and activities going on at once are always a favorite. Get the whole school involved for maximum participation and school spirit.

Walking programs

For low-impact physical activity, start a walking program. Designate a walking route around the school grounds and encourage students, teachers and parents to walk during breaks, before and after school. Set daily or weekly walking goals to keep people motivated. Offer pedometers or fitness trackers for students to track their steps. Create challenges between classrooms or grades to make it a fun competition. A walking program is an easy way to promote exercise and community.


So there you have it, some simple ways to get your students moving and grooving during the school day. Don't forget, every little bit counts. Whether it's just taking an extra lap around the playground during recess or doing some jumping jacks during a lesson transition, any physical activity helps. Kids today spend way too much time sitting still, so do your part and get them up and active. Their growing bodies and minds will thank you for it. Who knows, you might just start a movement in your school that spreads to others. So move it and inspire your students to do the same. The benefits are huge and the efforts small. What are you waiting for? Get stepping!

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