Movement Breaks For The Classroom – 15 Free Activities

Students reach arms overhead during a yoga lesson in physical education class.

Movement breaks, or brain breaks, are opportunities for students during the school day to get up out of their seats and move. In this article, we explore the benefits of movement activities and provide 15 different free movement breaks for the classroom.

Benefits of Movement Breaks For the Classroom


Movement breaks for the classroom offer many benefits for students, and empower students academically and physically.


First, movement breaks promote increased focus and attention span. Extended periods of sedentary behavior can lower students’ concentration and heighten restlessness. By incorporating movement breaks into the classroom routine, students engage in physical activity, which helps to improve blood circulation and oxygen flow to the brain. This, in turn, enhances cognitive function, leading to improved concentration and better retention of information.


Furthermore, movement breaks for the classroom have been found to enhance memory and information processing. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote a positive mood and improve cognitive abilities. Engaging in different kinds of physical activity during breaks can help students activate their brains, making them more receptive to learning.


In addition to cognitive benefits, movement breaks contribute to physical health and well-being. According to the CDC, only 25% of our children get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. While a quick break won’t achieve that time recommendation, it can chip away at it.


Finally, movement breaks offer social and emotional benefits. Movement breaks provide an outlet for stress and anxiety, allowing students to recharge and refocus their energy.

Students need movement breaks in the classroom!
Everyone benefits from movement breaks. Let's give them to our students of all ages!

Are Movement Breaks For The Classroom A Waste Of Time?


No! We know that classroom teachers at every grade level face mounting pressure to cover as much content and materials as possible. But more time doesn’t mean quality time.


The positive effects of even a short activity break far outweigh those few extra minutes that could have been used to cover the curriculum. Because activity breaks can recharge and reenergize students to be better on task and focused for the rest of class. More bang for your buck! 


While you might not see the differences and impact right away, movement breaks for the classroom are a great idea that will reap positive results over time.

15 Free Movement Breaks For The Classroom


PLT4M is a leader in all things physical fitness and wellness. While we offer hours of curriculum and lesson plans for PE teachers, we also support teachers in every single classroom with fun and engaging movement breaks for the school year.


Featured are 15 different movement breaks for the classroom.  Put these great brain breaks into your daily routines and watch students at every grade level smile and succeed. Check out 3 from each of the following categories.


  • Flow On The Go with Lulu – Fun chair and standing yoga poses that can be used in any classroom setting.

  • Move with Max – 8 rounds of 30 seconds – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest of two different movements.

  • Pick A Side – Fun for any group size. Students pick a side and then are assigned a different physical activity, like jumping jacks, squats, and more, to perform for 30 seconds.

  • Breath – Guided breathing exercises that help students take a deep breath and focus.

  • Mindfulness with Meghan – 5 minute mindfulness meditations that pair deep breathing with mindfulness activities.

More Than Just Movement Breaks – The Importance of PE


Movement breaks for the classroom are a great start to increase physical activity for children. And as a result, schools will start to see things like attention span and behavior improve. But young students and older students need more than just a few minutes throughout the school day.


Students need dedicated time for quality physical activity. Yes, young students get recess, but that isn’t enough. Physical education is a time in the school day that can increase physical activity and help students develop lifelong skills for fitness, health, and wellness. Physical education should be a required part of the school year for all grade levels.


If we truly believe in the benefits of short activity breaks during class time, then let’s take the next step and create opportunities throughout the school year for all students to participate in regular physical education. As a result, movement breaks for the classroom paired with regular physical education can support the whole child model that has become popularized by the CDC.

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Key Takeaways on Movement Breaks For The Classroom


Movement breaks for the classroom are a fun way to empower students physically and mentally. And while movement breaks for the classroom are more popular with young students, there are different kinds of brain breaks for all ages.


If you aren’t sure where to start as a classroom teacher, turn to resources like PLT4M or GoNoodle for help. In addition, talk to the physical education department in your school. Physical education teachers have a treasure trove of different movement activities they would gladly share with anyone at the school.


Regardless of what type of brain breaks you go with, you and your students will see the positive effects of increasing physical activity throughout the school day.


Does PLT4M have full lesson plans or just short activities?


PLT4M has hundreds of hours of full PE lesson plans. Our ever-growing library of original content includes a variety of programs intended to spark lifelong physical literacy. Check out the options below: 


Does research support physical activity in the classroom?


Yes there is a wide range of literature and research that highlights the benefits of physical activity for students. Check out some of the best articles below: 


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