When Should You Introduce Activity Into The School Day?

There are three main ways schools can introduce more activity into the school day:

Active lessons – A Physically Active Lesson (PAL) takes a normal part of the school curriculum – be it Science, Art, History, or Maths – and adds an element of activity. Active lessons require changes to lesson plans, with lessons completely changed to get kids out of their seats and on their feet.

Active breaks – An active break is a short burst of activity designed to get children moving before, during, or after lessons. Taking between 2-5 minutes they are designed to be appropriate for the classroom space, but do not need to relate to the lesson content.

Active re-caps – Active re-caps can be used re-iterate the content of the lesson. For instance, in one activity the class could walk around the classroom with the teacher in the centre, asking questions and throwing a soft ball at random. The child that catches the ball must answer the question and through the ball back. This continues until all of the re-cap questions have been answered.

What works best will depend on age groups and the overall structure of the school day. However, there are some times of the day where activity is more appropriate, and more helpful, than others.

After lunch

When the kids leave the classroom for lunch, they may return experiencing a ‘post-prandial’ dip. This refers to the period after a meal where blood glucose drops and energy lulls. Therefore, introducing a few minutes of activity could go a long way to boost energy levels and re-sharpen the classes’ mind before they settle down to more work.

In between double lessons

Many school days contain ‘double lessons’, where children are required to concentrate for extended periods of time. Introducing a short activity break or active re-cap half way through a double lesson can reduce the risk of the class burning out and becoming disinterested.


Most of us experience a mid-afternoon slump in energy levels, and if children have been concentrating since around 8am teachers may notice that they become restless towards the end of the school day. Introducing a short burst of activity can help to dispel any unspent energy and sharpen their focus.