These heavy work ideas for school are the perfect way to help promote calmer, more organized behavior for kids.
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These days, it’s not uncommon for teachers to encounter kids who can’t sit still, kids who can’t attend, or kids who can’t regulate their behaviors. In fact, many of the teachers we work with tell us that sometimes it seems like they have entire classrooms full of kids who need constant redirection to stay on task and keep themselves under control.
For some kids, adding a healthy dose of proprioceptive input through heavy work activities can help promote calmer, more organized behavior. We know that time for movement breaks throughout the school day is limited and that there isn’t always an extra set of hands to help facilitate heavy work activities at school.
That’s why we came up with this list of simple ideas that require no set-up and no clean-up, and can be easily embedded into the school day without a lot of fuss. You may need to enlist the help of another staff member to coordinate some of these jobs that occur in different areas around the building.
15 Heavy Work Ideas for School
1 || Holding the door open
Have kids hold the door open as the entire class files through. This is perfect for when you’re coming in from recess or going into/out of the library or gym where there is usually a heavy door that needs to be propped open.
2 || Hanging up backpacks and coats
Do you have a coat room or coat hook area that becomes a sea of coats and backpacks at arrival time? Assign a child to be the “coat room monitor” to help hang up coats and backpacks to keep things clear and organized.
3 || Carrying library books
Having one child carry a crate or box of books to the library is a great heavy work activity.
4 || Putting up chairs
At the end of the day, have one or more students help put the chairs on the desks so the custodian can easily sweep and mop underneath.
5 || Taking down chairs
In the morning, having kids take chairs back down from desks is another opportunity to work in some proprioceptive input.
6 || Carrying the lunch, milk, or snack crate
At some point during the day in many schools, there is a crate of lunches, snacks, or milk cartons that needs to be delivered to the classroom or the cafeteria. Great heavy work here!
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7 || Pushing the breakfast cart
Helping to push a cart for breakfast delivery or delivering other items to classrooms is a great job for kids who need some extra heavy work movement during the day.
8 || Rearranging desks/chairs
A spontaneous room makeover = heavy work fun! Have kids help change up the arrangement of the room by helping to move chairs and desks.
9 || Wiping down tables
Keeping desks clean is another great way to provide proprioceptive input. Have kids squeeze out a rag and work to wipe glue and pencil marks off of desks and tables.
10 || Erasing marker boards
Call on helpers throughout the day to erase the large classroom marker board or use small marker boards for classroom work so kids have to erase throughout the day.
11 || Punching paper with a 3-hole punch
Try having kids help with basic office tasks. Using a 3-hole punch requires kids to push down hard and provides great proprioceptive feedback.
12 || Putting paper into binders
Once all those holes are punched, having kids open and close the rings of a 3-ring binder is another way to incorporate heavy work into the day.
13 || Sharpening pencils
14 || Helping in the cafeteria
A cafeteria helper can unload and/or stack boxes and crates.
15 || Making deliveries
Kids can be in charge of delivering packages and supplies from the office or storeroom to different classrooms around the building.
What are your favorite heavy work ideas for school? Share them in the comments below!