Movement Breaks for Speech Therapy

Hopefully most of you saw a previous post of mine about regulation, and having my clients find their optimal level of energy throughout our sessions together. If not, click here to catch up and read it!

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Many of the clients I see have trouble maintaining a regulated state, or maintaining an appropriate energy level throughout our sessions. In order to help them eventually learn to regulate their energy levels themselves, we discuss various ways they can calm down or perk up!

According to a research article you can find here, “it is not developmentally appropriate for the kindergarten students to receive Direct Instruction for more than 8 minutes”. According to a second article you can read here, “taking a movement break will not compromise any student’s academic achievement even when the children lose instructional time”. Many other articles point to movement breaks as a great strategy for a variety of students!

Below are three of my favorite ideas, that typically take 5 minutes or less!

1) Slap Your Name
Cut 1 large circle out of construction paper for each student. Cut a slightly smaller circle in white paper and write their name on it. Hang in on a wall above the level of their head. Put 1 minute on a timer and start the countdown. Once the timer starts, the student will jump and try to slap their circle/name. If they can do it, raise the circle. If they can’t, lower the circle. The point of the game is to see how high they can get their circle. This is extra fun if you have a couple kids together in a group! They love competing to get their circles up and up! Jumping is a really great movement break because it doesn’t require a large space and uses up a lot of extra energy!
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2) Speech Boot Camp
This is another fun, and easy idea! Using the materials and space you have in your room, make boot camp cards. You can use index cards! Write ‘boot camp drills’ on each card. For example, “Do 5 pushups”, “Do jumping jacks for 20 seconds”, or “Jump up and down as many times as you can in 10 seconds.” You (the SLP, teacher, etc…) can be the drill sergeant, or pick a lucky student! The drill sergeant should pick cards, and direct the group to do each action. You can put 5 minutes on a timer to see how many exercises they can do as a group in 5 minutes! The whole group needs to work together to finish each exercise! This is a great movement break because it can also be used as a following directions activity!

3) Dance Party
Have a dance party! I keep a playlist on my iPad called “PG Playlist”. Every song on it is relatively recent and ‘cool’, but are all appropriate and pre-selected by me. I’ll play one song and everybody can dance or wiggle or move as much as they can during the song! Looking for some fun music? Check out this timely blog post from Rockin’ Teacher Materials.

These ‘movement breaks’ are often called ‘brain breaks’. Check out this fantastic Pinterest board I found filled with FUN ideas for brain breaks, including some videos you can play! How easy is that?

What do you use to keep your kids focuses? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to get some new ideas!

Lovely comments so far...

  1. Thanks for those ideas! I am always needing more. I like to do bean bag sandwiches with my super sensory kids. They lay in a bean bag and then I take the other bean bag and press on their body for a bean bag sandwich! They love the deep pressure!!

  2. Even my middle school students need movement breaks. I often just have them stand up and throw a ball. If it is a “thumb ball” then the could do some category naming too. If they are working on artic I may have them throw the ball over a white board with their words on it so they can practice at the same time. Sometimes coordinating the throw with the /r/ sound makes it better.

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