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Create Active School Days

Kids exercising outdoorsBe Active at School!

One way that schools can promote health and wellness is by creating and maintaining active school days. Active school days integrate physical activity throughout the entire day by having scheduled activity breaks during academic classes. Active school days create opportunities for students to be active between classes and provide physical activity before, during and after school.

Active Lessons

Make the classroom an active one!
Every day, establish a secret password activity such as five jumping jacks, hopping three times or holding a yoga pose. Share with students when to use that password -- to leave their seats, ask a question, between lessons or any time!

Active lessons are fun ways to get students moving and learning at the same time. Research has found that lessons involving physical activity as a break from class work can improve students’ academic performance. Active lessons and brain breaks during class lessons provide an opportunity for students to be active and take a break from sedentary activities in the classroom (e.g. sitting, reading).

Try these active lessons from the Williamsburg James City County (WJCC) School Health Initiative Project (SHIP) that integrate movement into Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOLs).


Recess is another time to focus on being active. Plan for an active recess each day with plenty of activities that will keep kids moving! For example, play basketball, kickball, jump rope, hula hoop or other activities. Recess is most beneficial when it lasts 30 minutes and is offered daily. If children misbehave, it is important to still try and let them participate in recess. Inclusion is integral to recess success! Some fun and inclusive games that children can play as a class are Red Rover, TV tag and rolling dodge ball (no throwing, must roll the ball underhand along the ground in order to prevent injuries).

Walking or Jogging Clubs

Kids using pedometers to measure steps walkedTry starting a jogging or walking club!

  • Get permission from the school to use a specific area such as the bus loop, blacktop or track.
  • Meet before school begins in the morning, or after school, whichever works best.
  • Reward kids at the end of the year with prizes, such as t-shirts, water bottles, etc.
  • Use pedometers to monitor progress and exercise. Aim for 10,000 steps each day!
  • To encourage more people to join, set up benchmarks for obtaining the club’s goals. For example, in six-week increments, log as many steps from the pedometers as possible and establish goals for the next six weeks.