Strategies for Fidgety Students During Classroom Activities

Do you need strategies for fidgety students during group activities? Sensory seeking students may benefit from these suggestions to help improve classroom management.

Do you need strategies for fidgety students during group activities? Sensory seeking students may benefit from these suggestions to help improve classroom management. These tips are great anytime for classroom teachers during circle time or large group instruction.

Start with a Movement Warm Up

Begin the activity with a movement warm up.  Depending upon your group of students you may need some whole body activities, crossing midline activities or simple stretches.  When in doubt, proprioceptive activities always work wonders.  Try Proprioceptive Poems or Roll Some Brain Breaks to get started.

Mix up the Seating

Mix up how and where the students are seated during group time.

Try flexible seating.  Do you suggest or use alternative seating to keep children alert and focused in the classroom?  Here are  some suggestions for alternative seating in the classroom: bean bag, exercise ball, exercise ball with feet, crate with cushion, scoop seat, lap desk, stool, air disc, sit on bean bag, sit on crate, sit on stool, work on floor, sit on balls at table, stand up, stand up on balance board, sit on floor, or sit on crates at table.

You can get more information on flexible seating with Wiggle Worms: A Guide to Alternative Seating for the Classroom digital download.  It includes all of the resources you need to begin implementing alternative seating strategies in a classroom.  Find out more information.

Use Visual Cues for Personal Space

Using visual cues for personal space can be very beneficial.  During listening tasks, can each student sit on a carpet square or perhaps inside a hula hoop?  Put painter’s tape on the floor around the student’s desk to indicate personal space.  These are several strategies for fidgety students who have personal space issues but if you need further help, check out Personal Space Journey. It is a collection of activities to teach children about personal space.

Use Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are excellent strategies for fidgety students. Take a break halfway through for an additional movement activity.  Try to incorporate movement into the academic or motor skill task to allow for a quick movement sensory break.   Need easy ideas?  Check out Monster Movement Transition Cards or pick a Mini Movement Break.  If you do not want the students up and moving around, try Chair Yoga poses.

Do you need quick and easy brain breaks for the classroom? You can download two FREE printables that are perfect for the classroom.

Establish a Routine

Establish a routine that you stick to each group session.  Every time you are leading a group try and keep the same routine.  Over time, the students will know exactly what the expectations are helping to reduce negative behaviors.  Try using visual supports to help student self-regulate and follow the routine.

Resource for Fidgety Students

Personal Space Journey

If you need more specific strategies for fidgety students, the Personal Space Journey is a collection of activities to teach children about personal space. You can choose how to utilize the materials. Some children may benefit from reading the story first with follow up. Others may need to work on body awareness activities in order to maintain personal space.

This collection includes the following: 

  1. Personal Space Journey Board Game
  2. 24 Body Cards – the child has to make his/her body look exactly like the body on the card
  3. 24 Challenge Cards – complete the body awareness and motor planning challenges written on each card
  4. 16 Movement Cards – complete the movement cards to practice body awareness moving through space
  5. Body in Motion Challenges Worksheet – try to complete the 16 motor skills moving your body in different ways
  6. Self Portrait – practice drawing a self portrait and remember to include many body parts
  7. Color the Body – identify and color in various body parts
  8. Personal Space Journey Letter for Home – letter written to parents about developing body awareness
  9. Personal Space and School – a 12 page social story about maintaining personal space in school
  10. “I Can” Statement Posters to compliment the Personal Space social story – 12 “I Can” posters to hang throughout the school to reinforce the personal space journey
  11. Twelve Small cards of the “I Can” Statements – provide the child with these small cards to remind them to maintain personal space in different situations – i.e. tape to a desk, slip in a notebook, etc.
  12. Personal Space Journey Certificate – complete this certificate when child has mastered maintaining personal space
  13. Handwriting Practice – 8 pages of handwriting practice for the child to list ways to maintain personal space in different situations. Provided in dotted line format, double line format (Handwriting without Tears® style) and regular lined paper.

The activities are reproducible to use over and over again with all the children that you teach. FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION.

Do you need strategies for fidgety students during group activities? Sensory seeking students may benefit from these suggestions to help improve classroom management.