Skip to Content

Physical Activity


On this page...

Healthy kids learn better. Physical activity can help students be healthier but more and more research is showing that physical activity may also impact academic achievement.

Make the Connection: Health and Academic Achievement

CDC Health and Academics - A leading authority on the connections between health, wellness, nutrition, physical activity and academic success.

School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth - Students who feel connected to their school are also more likely to have better academic achievement according to this CDC resource. Fact sheets for school districts, administrators, teachers, staff and parents/families can be found here. Also staff development resources including a facilitator’s guide, power point, and action plans.

Fact Sheets and Flyers:

Physical Activity Breaks, Brain Breaks, and Energizers

50 Things to do with a Beach Ball

Brain Breaks for the Classroom - Engage students’ brains, improve attention and concentration, and improve behavior by getting kids up and moving! Taking a quick brain break or physical activity break during class is easy and only takes a few minutes

Classroom Energizers - Action for Healthy Kids

Deck of Cards - Physical activity break ideas using a deck of cards

Get Movin’ - This Get Movin’ card set created by the Iowa Department of Public Health provides simple, short activities designed to be done in the classroom to help students achieve 60 minutes of physical activity daily

GoNoodle - Free short videos are ready to use

Just Move Activity Cards - Cards for K-6 that show the movement, provide instruction and curriculum standards (from New York). Also access the website for video demonstrations.

Kids Yoga Poses - Kids demonstrating yoga poses. Fun names like the Giraffe Pose and the Butterfly Pose

Lining Up and Waiting in Line Strategies - Creative ways to guide students to line up and activity breaks for waiting in line with this teacher created handout by Karen Bagby

Indoor Fitness Breaks - Active inside recess or physical fitness break

In School Activity Breaks - 135 ideas for active learning

Move for Thought - 10 activities that can be integrated with any subject in the elementary classroom

Physical Activity Cue Cards

Secondary Classrooms Brain Breaks - Colorado Legacy Foundation

Staff Physical Activity Break Card Set - Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Stories in Motion - Short stories that include action words which prompt bursts of physical activity! Utilize these stories in your classroom for short physical activity breaks

Physical Activity Before, During and After School

Walking School Bus Find out how to get started and then watch this video featuring Sioux City

Walking Works for Schools Tool-kit - Use this resources to organize a walking club or walk-to-school program at your school that will energize the entire community

Quality Recess

Indoor Recess 101 - Ideas to incorporate physical activity when recess is held indoors due to the weather

Recess Moves: A Toolkit for Quality Recess - Discover more about the benefits for brains and bodies from an active, quality recess from the Minnesota Department of Education

Make Recess Matter - Make the case for recess with this resource filled with ideas for improving student participation, a recess survey, activity ideas, and recess kit idea.

Using Recess for Success - LiveWell Colorado provides a resources to use physical activity and recess for success, not as discipline

Physical Education

National Physical Education Standards: From SHAPE America, find the National Physical Education standards as well as grade-level outcomes for K-12 physical education

Staff Wellness

Healthy Meetings Toolkit Putting on a meeting or workshop? Consider creating a “Healthy Meeting” atmosphere by following the ideas in this toolkit.

School Employee Wellness Guide This downloadable guide has tools, power point presentations, tip sheets, samples, and surveys to start a school employee wellness program.


CSPAP: Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Webinar - overview of the School Physical Activity Program. This introduction will increase knowledge about next steps participants can take to become a physical activity leader to then establish a comprehensive school physical activity plan in their own school.

CSPAP Resource List from SHAPE America

School Health Index Use this tool to assess your school environment and plan for changes

4-Hour CSPAP Presentation This 4-hour CSPAP presentation was conducted in May 2015 in Sioux City

CSPAP Intro Sara Sprouse from Van Buren CSD presentation at School Wellness Conference November of 2015

1305 School Health and Wellness Grant Success Stories

The 1305 School Health and Wellness Grant is a 5 year collaborative grant between the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Education. The 1305 Grant team is working to on state public health actions to prevent and control diabetes, heart disease, obesity and associated risk factors and promote school health.

The following Iowa school are participating in the 1305 Grant:

  • Cedar Rapids CSD: Thomas Jefferson High School, George Washington High School, Metro High School
  • Des Moines IDS: Weeks Middle School, McCombs Middle School
  • Knoxville CSD: Knoxville Middle School, Knoxville High School
  • Marshalltown CSD: BR Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School
  • Melcher-Dallas Jr./Sr. High School
  • Saydel CSD: Saydel High School, Woodside Middle School
  • Van Buren Jr./Sr. High School

Below are their success stories.

Year 1 Success Stories:

Year 2 Success Stories:


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 28, 2017 at 3:02pm.