Because sometimes kids just need to get the 'wiggles' out.
Remember what it was like as a kid trying to sit still in a classroom all day?
Maybe you didn't get enough sleep the night before. You woke up late, rushed through breakfast, and raced to catch the bus to school. You tried to remain still and quiet in class for hours, but even though you wanted to learn, all your extra kid-energy made it hard to focus. Sound familiar?
Classrooms are amazing places of learning where kids discover more about the world, learn social skills, and hopefully cultivate a lifelong sense of wonder.
But they’re also places built around desks and chairs and seated work — something we’re learning isn’t great for adults, let alone growing kids.
With easy access to mobile phones, video games, and streaming video — not to mention parents' busy schedules — kids today can spend a lot more time sitting down than they used to.
That's not great news.
The CDC recommends that children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but government research shows that most children typically get less than 20 minutes. Too much sitting can contribute to low self-esteem, emotional outbursts, or even bullying, as kids look for ways to release their pent-up energy, anxiety, and stress.
If we want to help kids grow up to be their best selves, they need to be able to move and play during their school day, with all the running, dancing, and goofing around that comes with it.
So, how do teachers and parents get kids moving more? The answer is simple: a five-minute "brain break."
Brain breaks are the creation of GoNoodle — an online video service for teachers and parents looking for fun ways to get kids moving. Log on to the GoNoodle website and there's a huge library of videos to choose from — everything from yoga-inspired stretches to dance-a-longs to breathing exercises — all designed to help kids release extra energy and get ready to refocus and learn.
"Together with teachers, parents, schools, and businesses we are on a mission to get kids moving. The response to GoNoodle is amazing. In just over two years we've built an audience that rivals the top websites for kids, with one unique difference — GoNoodle gets kids moving." — Scott McQuigg, CEO and co-founder of GoNoodle.
All that moving around really adds up. As of January 2016, more than 480,000 teachers in 68,000 schools have brought "brain breaks" into their classrooms — with 10 million kids participating.
In Tennessee alone, students logged an amazing 100 million minutes of physical activity with GoNoodle, all since the beginning of the school year. They're part of a huge cohort that has used GoNoodle to move for an absolutely astounding 3 billion minutes between last August and this May.
How do you get 40 Kinders ready to go back to class??? 🎈 FLOW!! 🎈#breathe #relax #kinderschillout These short videos are great getting the kids heart rates back down and ready to focus back in class. ❤️~ @amber_j14 @shasta1414
A photo posted by GoNoodle (@gonoodle) on
Not only are kids moving a lot more, they're also doing better in their schoolwork.
Plenty of studies show the connection between physical activity and a sharp mind. A 2010 study comparing test scores of 9- and 10-year-old kids who exercised regularly with those who didn't showed that the more active kids scored better on every single test. Another study used MRI brain scans to show how active, healthy kids have a better-developed hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory.
There's research specific to GoNoodle too. In 2015, an independent research company compared a school-year's worth of standardized math test scores for two groups of students and found that those who participated in "brain breaks" scored 50% higher than those who didn't.
Students aren't the only ones benefitting; some teachers are also big fans and are using Instagram to share awesome videos of their classes participating.
#tbt to this Cheerleader dance party at Julia Green Elementary! 📚 Have a happy day, GoNoodlers!
A video posted by GoNoodle (@gonoodle) on
It's clear that helping kids be their bestest, silliest, most active selves makes a real difference for kids — on and off the report card.
Classrooms aren't always fun places for all kids. Making going to school a more joyful, engaging, and playful part of a kid's day can improve their lives in real, meaningful ways. So, take a five minute break, kids! Your brain will thank you.