We all have those brilliant students that just can not stay still for longer than 10 minutes. I mean, who can blame them? Spending 7 hours sitting inside of a classroom can be exhausting for not only students, but teachers as well.
Today I’m sharing 10 engaging classroom activities involving movement. These strategies make instruction fun, active, and meaningful for kiddos. Let’s get those fidgety students and kinesthetic learners engaged in your lessons!
10 Fun Strategies to Get Students Engaged & Moving
STRATEGY #1: Cocktail Discussion
Don’t worry, there no alcohol required for this.
This was actually a great strategy I learned at a CRISS training.
It is very similar to a think-pair-share but with an active twist. I usually use cocktail discussions at a beginning of a brand new lesson just to see what students already know about a specific topic. They are a great way of introducing weekly essential questions.
I write the essential question on the board and circle it. Example EQ: How can we help make the Earth better? The students copy it down in their notebooks and create a web around it. I then set a timer for 2-3 minutes.
The students must walk around the room and form a group of 5-6 members. The groups are usually formed on each of the four corners in the classroom. If the students walk up to a group that has already exceeded the amount of members, they must quickly go and find another group.
At their groups, they discuss the topic. Students record information discussed amongst members or any new ideas.
After the 2-3 minutes are over and the buzzer goes off, the students must move around the room and form a new group. (Yes, some of the old members might overlap and that’s okay! As long as it’s not the exact same group as before.)
The students brainstorm new ideas with this group and share any ideas gathered from the previous group. This process can be repeated 3-4 times. The activity is concluded with a whole-class shared discussion.
STRATEGY #2: Review Musical Chairs
I use this as a review for 2-digit multiplication, but it can be used to review any kind of skill.
Here’s how it works: I place the review sheet or activity on each desk. Once the music starts, the students move around the room —dancing, wiggling, doing the dab…. whatever makes them happy.
Once the music stops, they have to find an empty desk, sit down, and solve the first problem. The music starts again, they repeat the process and solve the next problem. I didn’t take away any chairs like the typical musical chairs because that would leave kids without an opportunity to solve any problems.
STRATEGY #3: Using Scoots in the Classroom
Scoots around the room are a great way to get your students moving. The best part is that scoots can be done with any kind of task cards and/or that you may have handy! Simply place the cards around the room (make sure they are numbered) and give each student a response sheet.
I pick two numbers at random from my popsicle stick bucket and that determines the buddies that will be working together on the scoot. Each pair starts at a different task card placed around the room. They move around the room answering each card until they have reached their starting point. This can also be done using a timer, but it can be a bit stressful for those students that work at a slower pace.
Want to make it a silent scoot?
I challenge my students to see who can be the QUIETEST, yet most collaborative group. I tell them they have to find a way to communicate with their partner without saying a word.
Free Subtraction Task Cards
These 3-Digit Subtraction with Regrouping task cards are perfect for scoots!
Click below to grab your free set!
STRATEGY #4: Vocabulary Charades- Reviewing Vocabulary with Movement
Your students will love this fun vocabulary strategy. Every Thursday I give a group of 3-4 students a vocabulary word. (I whisper it in their ear so no other group can hear it.)
The students brainstorm a mini skit (30 seconds to 1 minute) that will help the rest of the class guess what word they are acting out. The students get so creative with this and even incorporate props from around the room! It’s a fun review activity that involves movement right before Friday test days.
STRATEGY #5: Jenga Engaging Review Activity
Here’s another engaging activity involving movement. I use review Jenga games during literacy and math centers. Students have to answer the questions on the corresponding cards in order to move the game piece.
You can read all about how I use Jenga Reviews HERE.
Grab the colorful Jenga set HERE.
STRATEGY #6: Learning “Hut”
St.Patrick’s Day happened to land on the week right before state testing this school year. I knew that my students only had a week to prep for the test, but also wanted them to enjoy the holiday! So, I set up themed centers to review each of the skills that would be on the test.
One of their favorite centers was the “Leprechaun Cave.” All I did was hang a green tablecloth over my reading corner to create a little ‘hut’. The students worked on elapsed time in there with a student teacher. (I would recommend supervision in that center since you can’t really see what’s going on inside.) They had so much fun they didn’t even realize they were really prepping for the test!
STRATEGY #7: Bucket Scoot
This is very similar to the room scoots, you would just be using little buckets. Place buckets around the room; you may even want to hide them for some extra fun! At each bucket, the students must pick up the question inside, answer it (provide recording sheets so they have a place to answer) and move on to the next bucket. Yet another great activity to get fidgety students moving around the classroom!
STRATEGY #8: Interactive Graphic Organizer
I’m sure we are all huge fans of graphic organizers. I use them all the time– especially during reading instruction. However, they do get a little repetitive and sometimes it’s nice to just change it up a bit.
I grabbed two hula hoops and created a life-sized graphic organizer. I typed up character traits to match two of the characters in our weekly story. The students compared the characters in order to determine where each trait belonged. This activity works great for kinesthetic learners that enjoy being actively engaged in their learning
STRATEGY #9: Flashlight Fridays
Every Friday morning, students are encouraged to bring a flash light to school and grab a book. On Fridays, we ditch morning work and just spend some time soaking up a good book! The thought of reading in the dark sparks immediate engagement.
STRATEGY #10: Take Learning Outdoors!
I love taking learning outside. It’s a nice change of scenery and it gets students moving.
I grabbed some picnic tablecloths and baskets and took our math review outside. I simply cut up the review sheet into strips, placed them inside the baskets, and had groups of four work together to solve them. We then debriefed the answers as a group while we enjoyed some popsicles.
More Engaging Strategies & Activities Involving Movement
Kids will be kids! We surely can not expect them to stay sitting at a desk all day without acting up or getting off-task. I know I sure can’t! I hope these engaging activities involving movement can help you spice up your instruction.
Looking for even more student engagement ideas? This post is part of the Fundamental Four series, where we tackle the four essential components of a successful school year. Check out Courtney’s post to learn all about how she engages her students!