With an already over-crowded curriculum, teachers are being challenged to find time in their busy classroom schedules for fitness. That being said, 10-15 minutes of exercise a day is all that is needed to benefit children physically, academically and emotionally. Fitness does not have to be a once a week, stand-alone lesson.
Fitness can be broken up into a variety of smaller daily activities. Allocating time can be as simple as filling in the last 10 minutes of a session, going outside for a brain break or warming up the body and brain before a content-heavy lesson. Quick and fun fitness activities can help children stay focused, be engaged in their learning, develop cooperation skills with their peers and maintain a positive attitude.
At Teach Starter we have put together a collection of 14 quick, easy and fun fitness activities that you can do with your class from Foundation to Year 6.
This blog briefly outlines each activity from our ‘Pack of Fun’ fitness cards. These cards can be downloaded and printed out to have on hand for use as a daily fitness activity. Most of the activities from the pack require no or limited equipment and can be played inside or outside.
Students are given a Fitness Bingo board with a variety of fitness activities. The teacher calls out a fitness card from the pile. The students do the fitness activity before placing a counter over the task on their Fitness Bingo board. The first student to cover a row of fitness activities on their board calls out “Fitness Bingo!” and wins the game.
All Hands on Deck
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. One edge of the boundary is the ‘ship’, the opposite boundary is the ‘shore’ and the middle is the ‘deck’. Students stand in the middle of the playing area and wait for the teacher to call out orders. “All hands on deck!” – students run to the deck and sit down. “Attention!” – all students stand up and salute. “All hands on ship!” – students run to the ship side. “All hands on shore!” – students run to the shore side.
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. Students are divided into two equal teams. Each team has a goalie. Markers indicate the goals on each side of the ‘field’. With an imaginary ball, students play a game of imaginary soccer. The first team to score a goal wins.
Play the Deck
Use a pack of playing cards for this game. Allocate a fitness activity for each number and face card. Pull a card from the deck of cards. Students then do the allocated activity for that card.
Rock the Baby – Skipping Game
Use a long skipping rope for this game. Two students hold the rope and rock it side to side, without it being turned. A skipper enters the rope and jumps the rope at least twice before exiting. Each time a skipper enters, the rope is raised a little more until a skipper misses.
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. A student is chosen to be the octopus and stands in the middle of the playing area. All the other students are lined up along one boundary. When the octopus calls out “Octopus!” all the students run to the opposite boundary. If a student is tagged by the octopus they become ‘seaweed’ and sit on the ground with their arms out. The seaweed helps the octopus by tagging other students as they run past. The last student remaining at the end of the game wins and becomes the next octopus.
Spelling Word Hopscotch
Use chalk to draw sets of hopscotch grids on the playground. Instead of numbers, write weekly spelling words in the girds. Students use a counter to throw onto a grid. Students spell the word as they jump through the hopscotch grid.
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. Different actions are given to a list of animal names. Students stand in the middle of the playing area and wait for the teacher to call out the name of an animal. Students then move around the playing area using the actions of the corresponding animal.
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. Students stand in the middle of the playing area waiting for the teacher to call out “here”, “there”, “where” or “dead bugs”. On ‘here’ and ‘there’, students run in the direction the teacher is pointing. On ‘where’, students run on the spot. On ‘dead bugs’, students lie on their backs and wave their arms and legs in their air, like a dead bug.
Stuck in the Mud
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. Allocate two students to be ‘in’ to run around and tag as many people as they can. When tagged, students must freeze and stand with their legs and arms apart. To unfreeze, a non-tagged player must crawl through the tagged player’s legs. Play until all players have been tagged and are ‘stuck in the mud’.
Use a large circular parachute to play a range of games, such as parachute tag, popcorn and rollerball.
Parachute Tag: Lift the parachute high into the air. Call out two student’s names to trade spots by running under the chute, before it comes down on them.
Popcorn: Place a number of softballs onto the parachute. Students shake the parachute to make the balls pop like popcorn. The aim is to keep the balls on the parachute as they’re popping.
Rollerball: Students try to keep a ball rolling along the outer edge of a parachute, around the circle. As it comes towards each student, they lower their edge. After it passes, they raise their edge.
A safe playing area with boundaries is allocated for this game. Divide the class into two equal teams. Each team has a goalie. Markers indicate the goals on each side of the ‘field’. On their hands and feet with their tummies facing up, students move around like a crab, kicking a large softball to play a game of ‘crab soccer’. The team that scores the first goal wins.
What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
An oldie but a goodie! Allocate one student to be Mr. Wolf, to stand at one end of the playing area, whilst the other students stand in a line at the other end. Mr. Wolf turns their back to commence play. The other students walk slowly toward Mr. Wolf, calling out “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?” Mr Wolf turns and answers with a time (e.g. 2 o’clock). Continue to play until all the students are close to Mr. Wolf, when he/she can respond with “It’s dinner time!” and chases the students back to the starting line. If a player is tagged, they become the next Mr. Wolf.
Cat and Mouse
Another classic! Students make a large circle and hold hands. Allocate two students to play the role of ‘cat’ and ‘mouse’. The mouse stands inside the circle and the cat stands on the outside of the circle. The aim is for the mouse to get outside the circle and avoid being caught by the cat. The mouse must stay moving while inside the circle, but cannot be inside the circle for more than 10 seconds. The cat cannot come into the circle but can reach inside to try and tag the mouse. The other students have to try and keep the cat away from the mouse by moving their arms up and down. Play continues until the mouse is caught.
Fitness Exercise Cards
Our fitness exercise cards are also a great resource to use in a variety of ways. Display them in your classroom to encourage your students to stay healthy and active. Alternatively, place the cards in a bucket and have your students randomly select an activity to perform.