You’re ready! You want to offer your students classroom physical activity. Now what? Should you devise new lesson plans and restructure your curriculum? Not necessary! This page compiles available activity ideas for incorporating physical activity in the classroom. Links that offer downloadable, printable materials are noted. (Please also see our Resources page.)
SECTION 1: Free Materials
Fuel Up to Play 60
If you only visit one website, this could be it! These pages offer free resources, video tutorials, and downloadable materials to simply and effectively engage students in classroom physical activity with no added planning or equipment required. Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program founded by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with USDA, that empowers students to take charge in making small, everyday changes at school. *downloadable
- Home: http://school.fueluptoplay60.com
- Play 60 Challenge: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Educator/FortheClassroom/NFLPlay60%20Challenge/NFL-PLAY-60-Challenge-Page_UCM_304278_Article.jsp
- Link to video tutorials on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrDeLRAEJG0Y18hyykolPMttCpAg_jdrL
- Direct link to PDF of 135 activity breaks: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@fc/documents/downloadable/ucm_455767.pdf
- Direct link to content-specific movement-based lesson plans for middle school, by subject area: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Educator/FortheClassroom/NFLPlay60Challenge/PLAY-60-Challenge-Lesson-Plans_UCM_453013_Article.jsp#.V2MRflej_8t
This site offers free videos that engage students in activity and resources for classroom physical activity, as well as a free email distribution option that delivers information and materials directly to your inbox. (A free account is required to access videos.) GoNoodle: “Get the wiggles out with free brain breaks for your classroom.”
JAM (Just a Minute)
This site offers free videos and resources for classroom physical activity, as well as a free email distribution option that delivers information and materials directly to your inbox. One component is the “JAMmin’ Minute®, a quick, simple fitness routine that includes 5 easy exercises that kids (and staff) can do while either standing at their desk or sitting in a chair.” To access JAMmin’ Minute routines, scroll down past the videos.
This school wellness program is from the NYC Department of Education. These links access teacher manuals and activity cards for engaging students in classroom physical activity. *downloadable
- Link to K-3 Physical Activity Guide: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/8EC1E7C4-D7EE-4534-AA18-F51B39EDA06C/0/MTIK3Manual2014_WEB.pdf
- Link to K-3 Activity Cards: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/DEC15CAA-AB63-446C-B127-D3EAADA09C1E/0/MTIK3FlashCards2014_WEB.pdf
- Link to 4-5 Physical Activity Guide: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/14143A6D-2BEC-4584-9301-E57F175DF77D/0/PhysicalActivityGuide45Manual2014_WEB.pdf
- Link to 4-5 Activity Cards: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/9C6841D8-CF9D-4ACA-BE63-8B042379876E/0/PhysicalActivity45Flashcard2014_WEB.pdf
Darebee.com offers free, printable workout cards with 500 activity break ideas. While not specific to the classroom environment, teachers can select those cards that are applicable. *downloadable
- Website: https://darebee.com/workout-cards.html
- Direct link to PDF: https://darebee.com/pdf/other/darebee-exercise-cards.pdf
This site is the result of a Beaverton (Oregon) School District task force and offers video links to activities as well as printable cards. While some pages within the site require BSD clearance, most are publicly accessible.
This link accesses a set of free movement cards, one activity per card, six cards per page. *downloadable
Just Move™ Cards
This link accesses a set of 24 activity cards with photo and directions, one activity per page. *downloadable
ABC for Fitness
This site accesses a free manual for classroom physical activity that includes activity ideas and implementation tips. “The ABC for Fitness™ program shows schools how to restructure physical activity into multiple, brief episodes of activity into classrooms throughout the day without taking away valuable time for classroom instruction.” *downloadable
This site offers free lesson plans, searchable by grade (K-5) and content area, to offer students classroom physical activity. To search, use the drop down menus in the upper, right of the page. “Active Academics® is a resource for classroom teachers to provide practical physical activity ideas that can be integrated into regular classroom content areas.”
EMC Brain Breaks
This site is a free “virtual physical activity idea book for elementary classroom teachers” that provides content-specific lesson plans incorporating physical activity for grades K-6.
Energizers for Elementary School
This link accesses a free manual of classroom physical activities where activity is incorporated into academic content for K-5. *downloadable
Healthful Living Middle-School Energizers
This link accesses a free manual of classroom physical activities where activity is incorporated into academic content for middle school. The manual includes tips for successful implementation. *downloadable
BC Daily Physical Activity Catalogue
This link accesses a free catalog of physical activities from K-9. *downloadable
Movement Activities and Games for Elementary Classrooms
These links access a free list of ideas for incorporating movement into the classroom. Each link offers 20 ideas. *downloadable
- Pt 1: http://www.kellybear.com/TeacherArticles/TeacherTip69.html
- Pt 2: http://www.kellybear.com/TeacherArticles/TeacherTip69b.html
Create a Classroom That Moves
This link access a manual designed for K-5. “The three-lesson units are geared for the busy elementary classroom teacher who would like to integrate nutrition and physical activity into the classroom.” *downloadable
“SPARK is a research-based, public health organization dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness.” The SPARK program, of which one component is classroom physical activity, is available for purchase, but the site also offers free sample classroom lessons.
Mind and Body
This link access a manual that compiles activities for the elementary classroom. *downloadable
Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Physical Activities
This page provides quick links to activity ideas as well as links to resources about classroom physical activity.
Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Secondary Classroom Physical Activities
These pages offer lesson plan ideas for incorporation of movement into classrooms with older students, along with implementation tips.
Power Chargers (from Health Powered Kids™)
“Power Chargers are a collection of short exercises designed to give kids a quick activity break throughout the day. Choose from two, five or 10+ minute Power Chargers, depending on the time and space available.”
20 Brain Break Clips: Fight the Fidgeting!
This site offers links to 20 music videos appropriate for children. These could be used to add creative movement by allowing students to “dance” to the songs.
“Classroom Physical Activity for K-5 Students: Keep Your Brain in the Game” – This page offers a basketball-oriented strategy to get kids moving in the classroom using provided activity suggestions. *downloadable
Hand Clapping Games for Kids
This site, while not specifically geared toward school or physical activity, offers various clapping games with song and rhyme for children.
SBS Kids are Learning to Move and Moving to Learn
This site, by Learning On the Move physical educator Liz Giles-Brown, offers video clips of students connecting movement to math skip counting: Moving Multiples.
This website offers resources and lesson plans for teaching creative dance lessons in school.
Building Better Brains Through Movement (Action Based Learning)
Jean Blaydes Madigan, founder of Action Based Learning, offers this PDF with activity suggestions for classroom movement.
Sworkit app for Apple/Android (not specific to classroom)
This circuit training app, a free download, provides a myriad of 30sec activities in 5min durations within categories such as yoga, upper body, lower body, or cardio. There is an option to create a custom program, such that teachers could select only activities conducive to classroom space.
- Basic app: http://www.sworkit.com
- Specific to kids (with children in videos): http://kids.sworkit.com
SECTION 2: Materials for Purchase
Take 10! is a program designed to integrate grade-specific academic learning objectives with age-appropriate physical activity. The program is available for purchase, but the site also offers free sample materials, along with information and resources.
AHS™ Classroom Activities Cards
These laminated cards offer 20 developmentally appropriate, 3-5 minute classroom physical activity ideas per set for $24.95. There are two options for each grade range: K-2, 3-4, and 5-6.
Exercise Breaks in the Classroom
This site offers “Fun Classroom Exercise for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade!” through posters for purchase. Pricing ranges for $19 for a single poster to $129 for a kit that includes three posters, a DVD, and and a music CD.
The Walking Classroom
This program enables students to “get fresh air and exercise while learning”. Free downloads are available on the website to try the product – podcasts that students listen to – and various program are available for purchase. One kit is $125 with the teaching guide sold separately.
Instant Recess (not specific to classroom)
The Instant Recess materials are available for purchase and offer 10min bouts of physical activity.
Skillastics (not specific to classroom)
Skillastics kits are available for purchase and include materials to offer game-based physical activity to a group of up to 100 students. The kits most conducive to classroom physical activity are Character is Cool, Fitness, and Let’s Move in School. The Let’s Move in School kit has a classroom manual that can be requested with purchase.
FitDeck Exercise Playing Cards (not specific to classroom)
FitDeck cards, at $15/deck, provide one activity idea per card. Some activities include locomotion, but deck could be customized for classroom. Sample activities can be seen on the site for free.
Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck
Through this website, you can access six sample cards for free. The full deck, of “67 yoga and mindfulness-based activity cards which include illustrated instructions, discussion points, sub-activities, and educational tie-ins, for a total of more than 200 beneficial classroom practices” is $32.
Ageless Grade for KIDZ!
Ageless Grade, originally for seniors, created a kid-specific program that offers a series of seated movement patterns. The DVD is $25.