BOKS Bursts: Movement Breaks for Any Time of the Day

Only 39% of kids between the ages of 5 and 17 in Canada are meeting the physical activity recommendation of 60 minutes of movement per day (Participaction 2020). It has been proven that short and frequent movement breaks can positively impact kid’s health and learning. BOKS was inspired 10 years ago when the founder Kathleen Tullie read the book Spark by Dr. John Ratey that articulates that exercise is the biggest tool we have to optimize our brain function (Ratey 2008). In an interview with CNN Dr. Ratey said, “When you move, you stimulate all the nerve cells that we use to think with, and when you stimulate those nerve cells, it gets you ready to do stuff” (Ratey 2018). Completing movement breaks throughout the day can help increase kids’ focus, improve behaviors in the classroom, and increase overall cognitive functioning (Dwyer et al., 2001; Herman et al., 2013). BOKS Bursts are 1-10 minute activities that are fun and get the heart pumping. There are over 200 games and activities that can be done individually, in partners, or in groups.

One BOKS trainer from Northwest Territories said, “Daily BOKS bursts have provided my students with engaging, meaningful movement opportunities which have helped foster their independence, confidence, and physical literacy skills. I have noticed an increased interest and awareness of physical activity, a “want” for more movement and initiative in asking for BOKS bursts, as students feel they need it.”

Having kids intrinsically motivated and want to do movement on their own is exactly what it’s all about. In elementary school, I was known to ask to go to the bathroom all the time, and now reflecting on this years later, it probably wasn’t because I was well hydrated but because I just needed to move! Therefore, I always say with so much passion “I wish BOKS was around when I was younger in school”. It is not the easiest thing to engage kids in movement throughout the day when there is so much demand to get so many things done. However, with a little planning, the results will create lasting change for everyone involved.

Here are our top tricks for how to implement BOKS Bursts into your day.

  1. Including movement as part of your lessons can be a game-changer! For example, have students complete a functional fitness skill before they respond to a question.
  2. Create a BOKS Burst routine. Start your day off with a BOKS Burst or use them regularly during any transitions from one task to another. The kids will start to expect these movement breaks when it is part of their routine.
  3. Use engaging and easily accessible equipment to keep things exciting- like red cups. Everyone always loves trying our Balancing Act Burst using red cups!
  4. Have students lead the Burst for those participating. Pick a “BOKS Star” of the day or week and have them lead the class through the Burst. As well, we have a Junior Leadership Program for even more learning opportunities for older students. Developing a student-led Burst program can create a physical activity movement throughout your school community.
  5. Use our monthly calendars and weekly emails that provide you with a Burst for each day of the week. They even come with written instructions and videos to follow along with.

Still not sure where to start? Here are my top 3 go-to Bursts from the respective categories below that I encourage you to try!


  1. BOKS Give me 10!
  2. Thunderstruck Burpee Challenge.
  3. Triathlon Burst.


  1. Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  2. BOKS Ladder Challenge.
  3. Cup Flip.


  1. Cat and Mouse Tag.
  2. Move the line sprint team burst.
  3. Alphabet relay.

Don’t forget to access the full Burst document in our Trainer Hub to check out these Bursts and get your students moving this Fall!


Kyla Crocker
BOKS Regional Coordinator, Central Canada