Recite Me Logo Easy Read and Translation

Movement Breaks

Why do children need movement breaks (heavy muscle work)?

Movement not only allows children to get their ‘wiggles’ out, but energizes them and increases their ability to focus on the next learning activity. In order for kids to learn, they need to move!

Some children can have difficulties focusing and sustaining attention on activities both at home and school resulting in difficulties in achieving their full potential.

Many children seek movement throughout the day, as do adults, in an attempt to get them to the optimal level in order to carry out a certain task or engage adaptively within their environment.

However engaging in heavy muscle work prior to period of focused activity can stimulate parts of the brain providing a state of alertness that can be considered optimum for learning.

Heavy muscle work includes; Activities, which involve pushing, pulling, lifting, climbing, tugging and towing. The leaflet gives examples of “Movement Breaks” for both home and at school, which can be done individually or with siblings or the whole class.

The aim of the movement breaks are to help create the level of alertness which enables a child to focus and concentrate. Heavy muscle work may calm the over alert and wake up the under alert. Heavy work through the hands may also improve fine motor and handwriting skills by increasing hand strength and body awareness.

Activities to carry out at home

  • After a period of time sitting e.g. completing homework, play games or watching TV, follow with a period of movement and activity
  • Going for a walk / riding a bike / scooter
  • Going to a park or playground
  • Playing in the garden climbing / balancing / catching / trampolining / swing / helping with the gardening / sweeping
  • Yours and child’s hand flat together and push against each other, so the same with feet
  • Home help—set the table, clear the table, wash up, load the dishwasher, carry items up and down the stair, tidy away toys, carrying washing basket, pushing trolley, tidying, sweeping
  • Exercise group with siblings or parents—e.g. push ups, star jumps, jumping, knee lifts, ect
  • Animal walks e.g. crab, frog, bear
  • Wheelbarrow walks, headstands
  • Games including—simon says, head shoulders knees and toes, hand clapping games
  • Play dough / putty activities using their hands
  • Help with home tasks, Deep pressure hugs, rough drying after bath
  • Headstands

How can I support my child?

Moving around the classroom and school:0736 - Pumpkin Workout

  • Walking / biking / scooter to school. If you live far away, park a little further from school to encourage walking and more exercise.
  • For the whole class to carry out exercises after a period of sitting on the carpet or sitting in the chair listening to instructions.
  • Themed workouts for the class to carry out.
  • Hand out exercise books, equipment and collect from peers
  • Classroom helper
  • Open and hold doors for peers
  • School errands carrying books/boxes, taking register to office, handing out/collecting books, 
  • Action songs
  • Walking to get some water

Sitting in the class chair:0736 - Sitting on chair

  • Hands on chair push hands to lift bottom off chair.
  • Chair sit (Do 10)—have child sit down and stand up repeatedly from their chair.
  • Place hands on child’s shoulders and press down, to provide them with deep pressure
  • Child to place hands on head and push down
  • Shrug shoulders up towards your ears hold 5 secs then relax.
  • Roll neck and head slowly tuck chin in to right shoulder then to left.


Equipment to help:

  • Weighted back pack, wear back pack on both shoulders with weights or heavy toys placed inside to provide them with deep pressure and calming effect.
  • Move ‘n’ sit cushion
  • Place weighted material across lap when completing table top activities.
  • Theraband under the desk, tied around the legs of the table to provide a foot fidget toy and input throughout day, when feet placed down on it or moved.
-736 - Move n Sit cushion  0736 - Weighted Cushion 

0736 - Bizzy Breaks Poster

0736 - Bizzy Breaks Logo

To view this page as a downloadable PDF please click here.
In this section
Latest News
Compliments and complaints
Patient Experience
"Seen very quickly. The nurse was very understanding, approachable and empathetic"  - Luton community paediatrics