Strategies for Teaching Children Who Have Trouble Sitting Still

Strategies for Teaching Children Who Have Trouble Sitting Still

Students with ADHD benefit from movement and learning activities in the classroom just like other children. Movement activities are important for students with ADHD, because they allow them a way to channel energy in a constructive way, but finding activities for ADHD students incorporating movement and learning connection may seem daunting to some teachers. However, ADHD classroom management doesn’t have to be difficult if you take the time to understand your ADHD students’ needs and interests, in turn making your classroom run more smoothly.

Themes for Inclusive Classrooms: Lesson Plans for Every Learner is a wonderful resource full of teacher strategies and tips on how to modify teaching behaviors as well as classroom environments and activities to fit all learners. For ADHD students, it is suggested that before starting activities you should “make sure you have the child’s attention before you speak,” and “establish a consistent signal to get the child’s attention.” Throwing a movement activity into the mix may seem like the perfect way to lose control of your students, but with a little patience and a few accommodations, everyone can enjoy learning through play.

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Themes for Inclusive Classrooms

Here are some examples of movement activities including accommodations for ADHD students you can implement with your ADHD students.

Introduction to Transportation


  • Varieties of transportation toys representing land, air, and water transportation (including transportation from the playground, such as wagons, tricycles, and other wheel toys)
  • Pictures of types of transportation (for land, air, and water travel)
  • Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry


  1. Begin the lesson by asking children how they traveled to school that day.
  2. After they have identified their means of travel, explain that they will be learning about transportation for several weeks. Mention that transportation is how people travel from one place to another.
  3. Show the children a variety of transportation toys such as boats, cars, trucks, trains, and planes, and ask them to tell how people travel for each selection.
  4. Explain that travel can occur in three places: on land, in the air, or on water.
  5. Show the transportation pictures and ask children to identify where each type of transportation would take place. Sort the pictures into three stacks (land, air, and water) as this activity progresses.
  6. Say, “When we walk across the classroom, we are traveling from one place in the classroom to another.”
  7. Ask the children to name other places where they might walk.
  8. Show the book, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go to introduce children to the concept that various types of transportation exist.
  9. Invite the children to paint a large “street” mural to use in the classroom during Center Time.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Incorporate movement into the lesson by pretending to drive each of the forms of transportation. Use a signal, such as raising one finger, to gain the child’s attention before you speak.




  • Pictures of snakes
  • A snake replica (purchased at a novelty store or made out of Playdough)
  • Book about snakes (such as Don’t Take Your Snake for a Stroll by Karin Ireland)


  1. Begin the lesson by holding up a snake replica or a picture of a snake and asking the children if they think a snake is a pet.
  2. Tell the children that some people like to have snakes as pets. Remind them that snakes cannot be petted like a cat or dog, but that snake owners do have to feed and water their pets and keep their living quarters clean.
  3. Introduce and read the book Don’t Take Your Snake for a Stroll (or another choice).
  4. Explain that snakes are reptiles. If you have done an animal unit, this may be a familiar term to the children. If not, tell them what a reptile is and give some examples. Tell the children that reptiles are animals that have scaly, skin and crawl on their bellies or on short legs, such as lizards, turtles, alligators, and crocodiles.
  5. Emphasize that snakes that live in the wile are sometimes dangerous (or venomous) and that children should stay away from them if they ever encounter one.
  6. Introduce the children to the next verse of “I Have a Pet,” then discuss what the word “slither” means.

I Have a Pet by Laverne Warner

Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”

I have a little snake.

It is very dear to me.

I give it food and watch it slither.

He’s so much fun to see.

Ask children to slither around in the Circle Time area just for fun.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Make sure that you have this child’s attention before you speak. Incorporate motions into the song “I Have a Pet,” When reading the book Don’t Take Your Snake for a Stroll, invite the child to turn the pages after you read them.  

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