Monday, March 30, 2015


How many times have teachers asked me, "What do I do with the child who wiggles all the time?"  My guest blogger Margaret Rice has some excellent suggestions today.  And, I'm sure you'll want to check out her website for more practical ideas.

Most classrooms have a few children who are constantly on the go. All children like to move but some have trouble settling down for activities that require sitting still and listening. Here are 5 suggestions to help movers and shakers during group activities such as circle time or large group instruction. 

1. Start the activity with a movement warm up. Depending upon your group of students you may need some whole body activities, crossing midline activities or simple stretches. When in doubt, activities that require heavy work such as pushing, pulling and jumping always work wonders. These types of activities help to activate the joints and muscles to get the body and brain ready to learn.

2. Mix up how and where the students are seated during group time. For example, can they stand to complete the activity, lay on their bellies on the floor, sit in a rocking chair, etc?

3. Use visual cues for personal space. During listening tasks, can each student sit on a carpet square or perhaps inside a hula hoop? Put painter’s tape on the floor around the student’s desk to indicate personal space.

4. Take a break half way through the lesson for an additional movement activity like a quick brain break. A few examples of easy brain breaks are: jump over a pencil on the floor 20x, run in place for 30 seconds, do 10 jumping jacks, etc.

Another option is to incorporate movement into the academic lesson. For example, look for .books that include animals, sports, transportation, or other movement type activities in the story. It will make it easier to incorporate actions while reading. Try reading the book through the first time. Then the second time you read it the children can act out the motions to go along with the story. Perhaps make some cards with the action verbs on it from the story. Use those cards during other times during the day for movement break activities.

5. Establish a routine that you stick to each group session. Every time you are leading a group try and keep the same routine. Over time, the students will know exactly what the expectations are helping to reduce negative behaviors. 

About the author: Margaret Rice is a pediatric physical therapist and owner of Your Therapy Source Inc., an online resource for sensory motor, fine motor and visual perceptual publications. You can download many free activities at