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There are many ways to stay active. Here are some of our favourite classroom activities organized by endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Requirements: Open space, line on ground
Teacher yells out ‘river’, and children hop to one side. Teacher yells out ‘bank’ and children hop to the other. Increase speed and try to trick children when they are on each side.
Use this fun cardiovascular and muscular endurance activity in the warm-up or fitness development section. Children begin by lying on their stomachs. When you yell, “Start your engines,” the children rise to a hands-and-knees position and perform push-ups. Next instruct them to “take off” (fly around the exercise area) and land (stop, roll to their backs and perform crunches). This game can also be used in the cool-down section if you ask the children to move slowly when flying and spend the majority of time on push-ups and sit-ups.
This is a perfect cool-down activity, but it can be used in other sections as well. The children put magic carpets (newspaper) against their chests, drop their hands and run around the room trying to keep the paper from falling on the floor. They are not allowed to hold the paper against their chests; as they run, it will be blown against them. When the song is over, the children can sit on their magic carpets to stretch. Suggested music: Theme from Aladdin.
Before children answer a math question they have to perform a jump, touch their toes, run on the spot, etc.
Every day establish a secret password activity such as 5 jumping jacks, stand on one foot for 5 seconds, hop three times, etc. Then establish when the student needs to use the secret password – i.e. after a drink of water, before receiving a hand out, when entering the classroom, in between subjects, etc.
Establish a new daily rule every day that includes physical activity. i.e. walk backwards to water fountain, tip toe to the bathroom, stretch before sitting in chair. See if you can catch the students forgetting the daily rule and have a “consequence” of 10 jumping jacks.
Have students stand up and push in their chairs. Explain that you are going to give them a series of tasks and the goal is to complete them as quickly as possible. Direct students that once they have completed the task, they should stop where they are and raise their hand. For the first task have students touch 10 chairs not in a row. For the next task have students touch elbows with 8 classmates. For the last task, touch toes with 6 classmates wearing 6 different coloured shirts.
Create a dance sequence one move at a time by calling out a move. Add one move each time through the sequence. Moves could include: stomp left, high five, jump twice, spin in a circle, squat, etc.
Read a paragraph or page of a book, and every time an action verb comes up, the students have to act it out. Try and let them be as creative as possible with their movements.
While reviewing for a test, ask the students a series of true-or-false questions. If the question is true students should jump in place for 15 seconds. If it is false they should touch their toes.
Students remain seated and raise their hands in the air. Have them start by shaking their right hand 10 times, left hand 10 times, left foot 10 times and right foot 10 times. Repeat counting down the number of shakes from 9-1. Speed up or slow down the counting to keep it interesting.
When the students line up against the wall to leave the classroom, have each student face the wall and perform 10 wall push ups. After all push ups completed the class can walk to their next designated class.
Using a standard card deck, assign an activity to each of the four suits (ex: push ups, plank, sit-ups, squats). Pass out a card to each student and they have to do the activity for that suit for 20 seconds. Have students pass their cards to their neighbour and repeat for 5 passes. Add a twist: have students perform the activity the number of times designated on the card.
Music: “The Twist”, “Twist and Shout”, “Let’s Twist Again”, and “Peppermint Twist”. Show child how to twist (raised bent arms rotate with torso one direction, bent legs and hips in other direction). Call out “shout” every 15-20 seconds which means the child must jump straight up. After landing, child must resume twisting. Challenge: Try going lower to the ground or twisting on one foot.
Pretend to act out different animals: Flap arms like a bird, hop on all fours like a frog, hop on two legs like kangaroo, walk on feet and hands like a dog, slide on floor to pretend to be a snake, etc.
Tell child to crouch into a ball (seed). Tell child to start growing like a flower, rising up. Feel free to add in different actions: wind blows (sways arms), plant gets thirsty (droops forward), nighttime comes (closes petals), sun comes out (stretches arm).
Before getting to their desk each morning, students must do jumping jacks, knee lifts, flap arms like bird, hop etc. Following each activity they do a corresponding stretch; arms to the sky, bend to the toes, etc. Customize this routine to your students needs and let it be something they do every morning!
Provide students with paper at desk. Students can stand or sit. Ask a question and student writes down the answer (very large) on one sheet of paper. Each student holds paper up, with two hands overhead to stretch. Teacher checks answers. Multiple choice questions work best.
Using your index finger as an imaginary pencil, write your name in huge cursive in the air. Now repeat using different body parts as your pencil — elbow, knee, toe, belly button, head. Don’t forget to make sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed!
Active for Life is a national initiative created to help parents raise physically literate children. At activeforlife.com, parents, educators, and coaches will find fun activities, engaging articles, and free resources to get kids active, healthy and happy.