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Why High School Kids Need Fun Too

Updated: May 18, 2022

Elementary isn't the only place for fun brain breaks, movement learning, and overall fun activities that encourage learning. High school is filled with ups and downs. Not only are teens taking on new responsibilities such as jobs and leadership roles in the school, but they are also going through major body changes. To top it off, while their brains are still developing they understand more complex concepts and emotions that lead to added stress, depression, and anxiety. This alone is a good reason to incorporate more fun into the high school classroom.

The Problem with Traditional Classrooms

But, this isn't all. High school students go from one classroom to another, sitting, listening, and working for one period to the next. In the traditional format, teens have to sit, listen to the teacher talk, stay silent, and try to absorb the information. This doesn't work well for adults, let alone teenagers. A student's mental health is important. As well as their ability to stay focused. So, add more fun into your classroom.

Biological Impact

As the student sits for an hour to ninety minutes at a time, physical changes occur. Blood leaves the brain and moves to the legs and feet, reducing blood flow; encouraging poor circulation. This isn't healthy for the body and also prevents optimal learning from occurring.

Don't Be Afraid of Fun

Many teachers worry that too much fun in the classroom will lead to students taking advantage and misbehaving. However, one thing we need to look at as educators are whether or not the behavior is truly bad or simply not how we think a student should act in a classroom.

It's okay to allow students to be silly, make jokes, and be loud during times when it's appropriate. Set boundaries in your classroom. Make it clear when students are allowed to talk and when they need to listen. However, if you expect every student to be quiet for the majority of the class time that's not realistic.

As the teacher, don't lecture for longer than half your students' age in minutes. Neuro-research shows that's how long anyone can listen and retain information on average. Allow students to be in groups, discuss quietly, and apply what you've taught before continuing. But focusing on lecture-based learning isn't what will make learning fun, and it certainly won't optimize learning. When students apply their new knowledge, give them a fun option for completing the task or activity. Incorporate movement, again you don't need to worry if you're rules, procedures, and boundaries are set in your classroom. Students won't want to lose the privilege of more fun activities. And setting expectations prevents issues from occurring.

Also, never allow ONE student's behavior to deter you from doing fun activities. That student is not a reflection on you, your activity, or a reason to punish the rest of the class by taking away fun activities. Try again, work on building a relationship with that student. Have them help you make the activity successful instead of telling them how they're making it difficult to complete.

Ways to Add Fun into the High School Classroom

  1. Take your students outside to learn

  2. Get students up and moving for activities

  3. Play more learning games

  4. Incorporate brain breaks with music and dance time

  5. Add rewards, such as candy for participating

  6. Laugh at their jokes and move on

  7. Dress as a character or historical figure for the day

  8. Add in skits or move creation into the activities

  9. Allow students to create more and write (a little) less

  10. Be silly and make jokes about your topic

  11. Allow students to pick their activities out of the options you provide

  12. Give students more choices in how they show their learning

  13. Add in project-based learning activities

  14. Add in more research-based activities where students pick a topic within your parameters


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