Get Up and Learn: Games That Get Your Learners Moving

29 August 2015 / 2 comments

Get Up and Learn: Games That Get your Learners Moving

Hello!  This is Tami from Kamp Kindergarten.  If you are already back in school, I hope your year is going well for you and your learners.  If you are going back soon, I wish you a smooth start to your year.

I am a staunch advocate for developmentally appropriate instructional practices. I am sharing a link to an article that discusses how current educational trends often lead to developmentally inappropriate instructional practices. I am discussing ways to get your learners up and about the classroom while addressing academic skills.

Why Movement During Instruction is More Important Than Ever

I have watched in alarm and dismay as increasing demanding curriculum is forcing little learners to stay seated for developmentally inappropriate lengths of time.  Many schools are drastically cutting recess and break time from schedules even for kindergarten students. A considerable number of young children are unable to maintain focus on academic tasks as required by these schedules. Understandably there is a correlation in increased discipline referrals with the increase of these developmentally inappropriate instructional practices.

The author in a Washington Post article addressed this issue.  She explained about practices to support development of the whole child.  She advocated that opportunities for movement are just as vital as opportunities for academic development.  

What We Can Do for Our Learners

As classroom teachers, most of us have little autonomy to implement changes in these schedules or required curriculum programs that mandate so much sitting.  What we can do is incorporate movement in learning whenever possible.  Granted it is difficult in the classroom to offer opportunities that provide “rapid vestibular (balance) input” as the author called it.  What we can do is take everyday lessons and use them to get the children out of their seats.

Learning Fun and Games

I like to take materials I already have like flashcards or learning center materials and use them in activities incorporating movement.  It can be as simple as giving out number cards and having the children line themselves up in numerical order.  The children are walking around, asking others what number they have, and deciding how they should form the line.  This teaches them problem solving skills and to work cooperatively.


Let's Go to School Tally Marks Math Center

Matching activities are good for incorporating movement.  Using this free resource pictured above, learners match numerals to tally mark quantities.

  • Give one group of learners the numeral cards.  Give the other group the tally marks cards.
  • Instruct them to find their partner with the matching card.
  • To extend the activity, have the partners work with other partners to get the entire group in numerical order. 

Here is another matching activity pictured below that incorporates numeral cards and ten frames cards.   Just follow the same procedure outlined for the tally marks matching activity. 


You can use flash cards from dollar stores and the Target Dollar Spot.   These cards often have popular characters that appeal to little learners.  If you prefer to order on line here are a couple of options available.


My little learners always enjoyed lessons that incorporated movement. Their enthusiasm enhanced my enjoyment of the lessons. At the end of the day I felt a sense of satisfaction just knowing that I had provided developmentally appropriate instruction.

Have a great weekend!


  1. These are great ideas to keep kids moving! Thanks!

  2. When I sit all day during inservices I realize how important it is for our students to be able to move. Great ideas!


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