How To Use Physical Activity To Engage Young Students

kids happily running around the field in the sunset
  • Incorporate movement into the curriculum to engage young students by using play as an educational tool to teach core subjects.
  • Take regular movement breaks to improve focus and alertness, and make exercise fun by playing sports, dancing, or aerobics. 
  • Find interesting indoor locations such as trampoline parks and virtual reality playgrounds.
  • Reinforce physical activity at home to promote a healthy lifestyle. 

Children have an abundant amount of energy, and harnessing it in a productive manner can be a challenge for educators and parents. Incorporating physical activity into daily routines can help young students to focus, learn and retain information better. Furthermore, physical activity helps to promote a healthy lifestyle and contributes to the overall well-being of students. Here are tips and tricks on how to use physical activity to engage young students.

Incorporate Movement Into The Curriculum:

You can design the lesson plan to include moments of physical activity that complement core subjects. For instance, in science class, take students outside to learn about the environment, like botany and geology, and let them collect leaves, flowers, and rocks. Here are some other ideas:

Use Play As A Tool:

Young children learn best through play, so they use physical activity as a tool to teach core subjects. For instance, instead of sitting for hours to teach mathematics, use physical manipulatives like beanbags, hula hoops, and cones to make learning fun. You could throw beanbags into the correct number of baskets or toss balls within hula hoops in patterns to teach addition and subtraction.

Take Regular Movement Breaks:

Sitting for long hours at a stretch can be a draining experience for children. It is essential to schedule regular movement breaks, especially in classrooms that require students to sit motionless for an extended period. These breaks can be as simple as a five-minute walk around the courtyard or playing a quick game of Simon Says or a round of charades.

Make Exercise Fun:

Exercise does not have to be tedious, and there are ways to make it fun, especially for active children. For example, instead of traditional calisthenics, get students to play sports like basketball or soccer at recess. You could also plan dance or aerobics breaks that feature upbeat music and choreographed moves to keep the students energized.

kids playing tug of war in a field happily

Choose Indoor Locations:

Sometimes, it can be advisable to take students into external settings, away from the confines of the classroom. But given safety restrictions and weather patterns, it is not always possible to do so. So why not choose interesting indoor locations? Here are some examples:

Free Jumping Facilities

Jumping facilities like trampoline parks are great for encouraging physical activity in young students. Many indoor jump and play areas typically have wall-to-wall trampolines, trampoline dodgeball, foam pits, and interactive games that promote both physical and mental development. These facilities also provide a safe environment for kids to explore and get physical exercise.

Virtual Reality Playgrounds

These are great for stimulating physical and mental development in students. The interactive environment provides plenty of opportunities for movement, as students need to move their bodies to control the virtual reality games they’re playing. This helps them understand how their body movements affect what happens on the screen, promoting better coordination and understanding of spatial awareness.

Escape Room for Kids

Escape rooms for kids at LockedInattheLake provide an engaging and intellectually stimulating activity that not only entertains but also fosters teamwork and problem-solving skills. These specially designed escape rooms cater to children’s imaginations, offering age-appropriate challenges and puzzles that encourage critical thinking and creativity. As kids work together to unravel mysteries and unlock clues, they develop communication skills and learn the value of collaboration. Additionally, the immersive and interactive nature of escape rooms captures children’s attention, making learning an enjoyable adventure. These experiences not only provide a fun outlet for energy but also contribute to the development of cognitive abilities, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment, creating lasting memories for young participants.

Local Museum

A museum can be an excellent place for learning. They often offer interactive activities that help young students understand the history and culture of a particular place or time. There are plenty of opportunities to create physical activities that promote movement and engagement in a fun way.

kids listening to a tour guide in a local museum

Reinforce Physical Activity At Home:

Encourage parents and caregivers to reinforce the importance of physical activity at home. Exercise can be an excellent family bonding activity that promotes healthy habits. 

Parents should encourage children to engage in outdoor play, like cycling or swimming, or enroll them in extracurricular activities that promote physical fitness. For instance, activities like ballet and martial arts require physical strength and coordination, helping to improve both physical and mental development.

If possible, parents could consider enrolling their children in physical education classes, such as athletics and gymnastics, to help them learn the value of healthy habits.

Incorporating more physical activity into daily routines is essential for young students’ academic success and overall well-being. As educators, you have a responsibility to ensure that your students remain engaged in a way that promotes learning and fun. By incorporating physical activity into lesson plans and encouraging movement breaks, you can help your students remain focused and alert. The benefits of regular exercise are immeasurable, and it is essential that you instill lifelong healthy habits from an early age.

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