What is GoNoodle and How Does it Work? Best Tips and Tricks For Educators

Cartoon characters standing around a GoNoodle logo
(Image credit: GoNoodle)

GoNoodle is a digital exercise tool that is free for educators. It is designed to help get kids up and moving and physically active, which is important because for many students the only physical activity they get in the day comes during school hours. 

The web-based tool provides videos and free activities aimed at younger students that not only teach exercise but can reinforce STEM, mindfulness, SEL, and other lessons. It was designed by a health entrepreneur who noticed that kids are seemingly getting less exercise than their predecessors in generations past. GoNoodle is all about changing that and using screens to foster physical movement rather than decrease it. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about GoNoodle. 

What is GoNoodle?  

GoNoodle is a web-based educational tool geared toward K-5 that is designed to encourage movement throughout the day. GoNoodle does this with fun videos and interactive activities. These videos and activities are organized by activity type and topics, including social-emotional learning and mindfulness, sensory and motor skills, and academic subjects such as math, science, ELA, social studies, health, music, reading practice, and Spanish. Activities include stretching, exercise, guided dance, exercises that pair students with partners, and fun competitions. Question sets allow educators to quiz their students between exercises. 

The content is geared to young children so much of it is on the silly side. In one video, a rap trio urges students to “think like a scientist” by observing and hypothesizing. In another interactive video, students are asked to jog in place, jump, and sidestep obstacles on the screen. The competition videos divide students into teams and have them answer grade-appropriate questions as they perform various exercises. SEL-focused activities include upbeat dance videos and singalongs with positive messages such as “Be nice” and “You got this.” 

Teachers who have access to GoNoodle can play videos for their classes. In addition, they can also encourage students to practice some exercises at home as many sample GoNoodle videos are available on GoNoodle’s YouTube channel

Who Created GoNoodle?  

GoNoodle was founded by Scott McQuigg, an entrepreneur in health information and health education. McQuigg noticed that his children and their peers were engaging in less physical activity than he and his generation had and were focusing on screens instead. Rather than try to pry children away from devices, McQuigg hit upon the idea of using screentime to encourage physical activity. It proved to be a winning formula as currently more than 7 million school children around the world use GoNoodle to help stay active. 

What Does GoNoodle Cost? 

GoNoodle is free for educators. To create an account, educators simply need to go to GoNoodle.com and select the “educator login” tab. They’ll be prompted to login or set up a new free account. They’ll then be asked to share their location and select their schools. If your school isn’t listed, you’ll be asked to add it. 

The educator version of GoNoodle is currently best viewed on a laptop or desktop, while some GoNoodle videos can be viewed on phones or tablets through GoNoodle’s YouTube channel or the GoNoodle Kids Videos app on Apple’s App store or Google Play

GoNoodle Tips and Tricks  

Use GoNoodle At The Start of Class 

Starting each class with a little exercise is a good way to get your students engaged in class and ready to focus. The video can be related to class content but doesn’t have to be. The videos are only a few minutes long, so it’s okay to use GoNoodle as a fun way to start each session. 

Use GoNoodle To Promote SEL 

GoNoodle has a host of videos built around SEL. These can be a great way to quickly teach students about the importance of being kind to others and being in touch with their own feelings. 

Use GoNoodle for Holiday Themed Workouts and Games 

GoNoodle offers an entire section devoted to exercises and games that are built around holidays. Rather than focus on specific holidays that might exclude some students, the dances are generalized with videos such as “Happy Merry Everything” and the “Holiday Dance.” 

Use GoNoodle’s Curricular Resources 

The Curricular Resource tab is an excellent repository for educators that includes handouts and material that are linked to the videos as well as guides built around specific exercises and themes. There are also quizzes that are built into other exercise activities, which can be a fun way to quiz students while keeping them moving. 

Host a GoNoodle Dance Competition 

You can use one of the GoNoodle dances to get kids moving and having fun. They can vote on different categories such as “most energetic dancer,” “fastest dancer,” etc. and the teacher can provide small prizes such as stickers.

Erik Ofgang

Erik Ofgang is a Tech & Learning contributor. A journalist, author and educator, his work has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and Associated Press. He currently teaches at Western Connecticut State University’s MFA program. While a staff writer at Connecticut Magazine he won a Society of Professional Journalism Award for his education reporting. He is interested in how humans learn and how technology can make that more effective.