Energizers! Using Quick Movement Breaks in the Classroom

During the long winter months, when children may experience less physical activity and movement, try sprinkling in some energizers—quick breaks that get children moving, breathing, and having fun together—throughout the day. These much-needed physical and mental breaks can increase children’s motivation for learning, and can also make their learning more productive. Energizers are versatile, too: some calm children down, others perk them up.

So as you plan your lessons, think about how you might infuse more energizers into the daily schedule. Keep in mind that energizers:

  • Can be done anywhere and at any time throughout the school day
  • May or may not include an academic focus
  • Take just two or three minutes
  • Can help you better manage transitions, provide a quick pick-me-up during longer lessons, and improve students’ focus and attention both inside and outside of the classroom
  • Can help you build more positive connections with students through play

To get you started, here’s a simple energizer called “Land, Sea, Air.” Kids from K–6 grade can be successful with this one.

  1. Each person puts a marker or a pencil on the floor in front of him or her.
  2. When the caller says “air,” everyone jumps into the air.
  3. When the caller says “sea,” everyone jumps across their marker.
  4. When the caller says “land,” everyone jumps back to where they started.
  5. The caller changes from one call to another, faster and faster.
  6. To end on a calm note, the caller gradually slows the calls down.

For the rest of this month and next, I’ll post once a week with more tips and child-tested energizers for you to try with your students. Do just one or two at a time until you and the children are comfortable with this way of relaxing and playing together. Make each energizer your own. Most of all, have fun!

If you enjoy using energizers, you’ll find lots more in our book, Energizers! 88 Quick Movement Activities That Refresh and Refocus, by Susan Lattanzi Roser.

Tags: Movement, Transitions