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Exercise

Teach Stretching Lesson Plan for Kids

Following the theme of starting the day off right (see Building the Breakfast Habit), this activity includes everyday stretches and energizers that can be done while sitting or standing.

Child holding an apple and smiling at the camera

Download the Rise and Shine Lesson Plan

Students brainstorm favorite activities and themes, and develop a classroom collection of ways to replicate them indoors. These activities can be used as a way to start the day or pause for a brain break at any point during the day. Even just a few minutes of exercise can create new brain cells and provide oxygen to the brain, making it easier for students to focus and concentrate in class.

Goals and Skills

Students will:

  • Understand the benefits of physical activity
  • Brainstorm and demonstrate healthy activities
  • Set goals for daily physical activity

Supplies and Preparation:

  • Chart paper
  • Scissors to cut paper into strips (or a small pad of paper)
  • Make copies of the Rise and Shine Energy Tracker for each student

Background for Teacher:

Learn more about physical activity as it relates to a healthy lifestyle at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity.html

Instructions and Steps

1. How Do You Move?

Ask students the following exploratory questions to get them thinking about physical activity.

  • What does it feel like when you run around or jump up and down?
  • What are your favorite activities that make your heart beat fast?
  • How many different ways can you move your body?
  • How many minutes of exercise should you get each day? (Target Answer: At least 60 minutes.)

Explain to students that being active is one of the best things they can do to keep their bodies strong—and feeling good, too! And it can be done in many ways—not just through playing sports. Getting up and moving is what it’s all about! Physical activity makes your heart beat fast, pumps fresh blood to your legs, fingers, toes, keeps your body healthy, and helps give you the energy to do the things you love to do. Physical activity also makes you sick less often, makes you feel happier, helps you focus in school, wakes you up in the morning, and helps you sleep at night.

Write a list of these benefits on the board. Read them aloud and have students repeat after you. At the end, have students turn and talk to a partner and tell them one good thing that physical activity does.


2. Classroom Collection.

As a class, create a list of students’ favorite “movement” activities. Use the idea starters below, or have students brainstorm other moves or actions that they can act out.

Rise and Shine Idea Starters:

  • Morning Wiggle: Challenge students to stand in place and wiggle! The only rule is that feet have to stay on the ground, but students can be as creative as they want with movements while standing in place!
  • Be a Tree! Students can stretch and “grow” like a tree… starting as a sapling and slowly reaching up to the sky • Waking Up Yoga: Done seated or standing, challenge students to begin in a relaxed, “sleeping” posture and slowly “wake up” each body part, stretching and becoming aware of different body parts and gaining balance
  • Classroom Safari: Ask students what their favorite animal is. Then challenge them to act or walk like different animals!

Have students transfer the list onto separate papers and store them in a canister or small Rise and Shine box that the students can decorate. At every opportunity, have a volunteer pull out an activity slip to launch a Rise and Shine chores! break—at Circle Time, in between other lessons/activities, on rainy days, etc.

After a Rise and Shine break, ask: How do you feel now? Can you tell that you are more awake and energized? That’s what moving is all about—it helps keep your body healthy, and helps you feel great!

Modification:

Turn it into a short game of charades for extra engagement!

MyPlate infographic with sections of a plate and glass marked in color for fruits grains vegetables protein and dairy

Teacher Tip:

At this age, your students’ hand-eye coordination and motor skills are still developing. Activities that include a variety of movement, like yoga, can be a great choice; they are also inclusive for students at all physical levels. Students with special needs can participate, too!


3. Extend the Lesson.

As a class, review the Rise and Shine activities and ask students to vote on their favorites. Invite students to illustrate these activities and make a class book to share their favorite Rise and Shine moments with other classes, the school nurse, or even the principal. Remind students that they can “rise and shine” at home, too!


4. Home Connection.

Send students home with the Rise and Shine Energy Tracker. Inform parents that the class is incorporating energizing activities into their daily school routine, and encourage them to support these efforts at home. On the tracker, parents can list out all the physical activities they like to do as a family and collect stars every time they do an activity. Encourage the whole family to get moving while waiting for the school bus, before and after mealtime, or even while doing activity slip to launch a Rise and Shine chores!

Download the Rise and Shine Lesson Plan