Adding Physical Education/Movement to Every Subject

We all know that kids today don’t move as much as they should, especially during the school day. Adding in more physical activity can help children remember more of what they learn and can dramatically improve academic performance. We know it’s important so what can we do? Turns out, quite a bit. Adding more opportunities for movement into your day can be as simple as reading the following list. 


  • Take a movement brain break on a site like Go Noodle
  • Have students do a gallery walk around the classroom to use visual aids during a lesson
  • Ask review questions and have students choose their answer by going to different corners of the room
  • Put quiz questions around the room. Give each student a clipboard and have them walk to each question to answer. 
  • Throw a ball around the room as a ‘talking piece’ during discussion time
  • Toss a ball around the room to practice spelling words. Each time a student catches a ball, they say one letter aloud.
  • Put one task card at each desk. Students answer the question on their desk, then move to the next desk.
  • While transitioning (between center groups, etc.) have students do a movement
  • Use standing desks
  • Use songs and dances to help students memorize facts and formulas
  • Create a silent discussion. Hang blank posters around the room, each with a discussion question on it. Have students travel around the room to the posters and write their answer to the question. 

History/Social Studies

  • Have students get out of their desks and act out scenes from history


  • Take a nature walk outside

Language Arts

  • Put the letters of the alphabet on cards and place on the floor around the room. Have students hop on the letters in the correct order.
  • Place cards with nouns and verbs written on them around the room. Give students (clean) fly swatters. Call out a part of speech and have them run to a card with that part of speech and swat it. 


  • Do exercises (jumping jacks, twists, pushups, etc.) while counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s 
  • Walk around the room or school to find things to measure
  • Fact Family relay races 
  • Have students demonstrate their understanding of creating patterns by making up a dance set that the class must follow (ex. hands up, jump, spin, spin would be an ABCC pattern)


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Amy is a recent college graduate and now an elementary school teacher. She loves getting kids excited about learning and fostering their love for reading. Her other love is linguistics and she has enjoyed several experiences teaching English both in the States and abroad. Amy is a foster parent, avid traveler, tea drinker, and left-handed writer who hopes to author a few novels someday.


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