Close your eyes for a moment and think back to your own elementary school days. No matter what part of the world you are from, no matter what type of school you attended, when you conjure up a memory or two from this time period in your life, you likely see an outdoor playground of some kind. Whether it includes typical playground equipment like a slide or swing set, or just an open field or empty parking lot where jump ropes, soccer balls, or hula hoops were carried to, active movement during the school day has always been universal!
Yet, with time for traditional recess being incrementally shortened and the notion of ‘indoor recess’ (usually meaning puzzles, board games, blocks—great stuff but still sedentary) gaining in popularity, our youngest students are getting less and less intentional time for large motor play. Not to mention that with our ‘new normal’ it’s pretty likely that your school’s Phys. Ed teacher is down the hall covering a homeroom class, meaning that gym time is cancelled.
What’s the big deal, you may be asking yourself?
There are brain-boosting benefits to physical activity, and research backs it up!
- Physical activity improves brain function by helping nerve cells multiply, which creates more connections for learning. (Cotman, 2002; Ferris, 2007)
- Research has shown that daily gross motor play has a significant effect on cognition, particularly for early elementary, elementary, and middle school aged students. (Sibley, 2002)
- One comprehensive research review included 59 studies, indicated a significant and positive effect of physical activity on children’s achievement and cognitive outcomes, with aerobic exercise having the greatest effect (Fedewa & Ahn, 2011).
Let’s face the facts—movement matters! With your students’ best interest in mind, how can YOU build in time for physical activities throughout the day?
Here are a few simple-to-implement ideas:
- Desk Dance Party – With each child standing behind their own desk or otherwise safely distanced from one another, crank up age-appropriate hits, and let the kids show off their moves for 2 or 3 songs worth of time!
- Classroom Cardio – Invite your students to stand up and walk in place, jog in place, and run in place while counting to 30 during each action. Then finish off with 30 jumping jacks before taking a deep inhale & exhale and sitting back down.
- Stretch Session – Let your students reach for the sky, touch their toes, bend side to side, or even strike a yoga pose, like Warrior 1 and 2 several times throughout the day.
Take time to consider how you’ll sprinkle in short bursts of time for energetic movement throughout the school day, and then go for it! You’ll be glad you did.
Want to find out how GrapeSEED incorporates movement to promote language acquisition and student learning? Click the contact us button below!