8 Ways to get your young learners up and moving during online lessons

1. Factor in ‘wiggle breaks’

We all get stiff and achy when sitting at a computer screen all day, and it’s no different for our learners. When planning your online lessons make sure to plan breaks more frequently than you would normally, and encourage your learners to get up, move around, and shake out their arms and legs before sitting back down again.

2. Make the most of their surroundings.

Play games where they need to find or gather objects from around their house (with an adult’s permission!). For example, if you’ve been practicing words for different types of fruit and vegetables, you could give your learners a short break to go and find 3 different items of fruit or vegetables (they could be real ones or toys) in their house, and bring them back. Then you can play a guessing game where their classmates try to guess what they have got.

3. Use TPR (Total Physical Response)

When introducing and practicing new vocabulary, think about gestures that could illustrate the meaning of the words. If your lesson contains a song, encourage your learners to dance along or come up with actions together.

4. Get your learners involved

If you’ve introduced a new set of vocabulary words (and have established and practiced the meaning, for example with flashcards) your learners can help come up with gestures to illustrate the meaning of them. Even very young/low-level learners can help do this, and often their imagination and creativity can be surprising!

5. Think about action games

Even something as simple as ‘Simon Says’ can be a good way of getting your learners up and moving.

6. Think about ways to include more movement when checking answers to an activity.

Rather than putting their hands up to show that they have the answer to a question, could you have an activity where learners instead stand up to signify this?

7. If your young learners have another class immediately before their English lesson, think about revising your start of the class routine to include some movement.

If you normally ask your learners ‘How are you?’ at the beginning of the lesson, encourage them to stand up and accompany their answer with a gesture. If you have a particular chant you normally start the lesson with, encourage your learners to come up with some actions to accompany it. You can find some great examples for using chants for classroom routines on the Our World Professional Development Program.

8. Lead by example!

If you’re expecting your young learners to get up and move around, make sure that they see you doing it too. Even older learners (who are normally ‘too cool’ to participate) are likely to join in if they see that you aren’t afraid to join in and have fun!

For more professional development tips for young learners of English, check out the recently updated Our World professional development site!

Author: Ellen Setterfield

Ellen Setterfield has over 13 years’ experience of working with children and teenagers within the ELT industry. Elly has taught and trained teachers across Europe and North Africa and is passionate about helping Young Learners use English to understand the world around them.


  1. It is an excellent idea all the tips so that a simple class becomes something motivational and very little boredom, because there are times when there are no dynamics and you don’t learned nothing.

  2. I think that this topic it’s very essential, ando more in young learnes, couse they need to hace fisic activion to stay alert at the professor, and pay attention to the indications that he says.

  3. I think that this topic it’s very essential, and more in young learners, couse they need to have fisic activion to stay alert at the professor, and pay attention to the indications that he says.

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