5 Classic Fitness Games for Kids

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It often amazes me just how many fitness games come with complicated rules and require so much equipment. Not every physical educator, day care center, recreational program, or family has the space or means by which to acquire large amounts of equipment.

So how do you keep children active? You get creative!

As a physical education teacher who has no gym and no inside space for my class, I have come up with some games that meet learning outcomes while keeping students engaged and active. The ones I find work best are the good old-fashioned games that I played as a child, and even my parents before me. Timeless games with a spark of creativity yield the best results in my experience. I am sharing a few ideas with you in the hopes that they spark a creative storm of pure genius in you.

Fitness Hangman

fitness PE games

How to Play:

The concept of playing hangman is simple. You have one person pick a word and draw out the number of spaces that equal the number of letters in that word. If the word is “fast,” then there would be four spaces like this: ­­_ _ _ _. Children then take turns trying to guess a letter in the word. If they guess the letter right, it goes where it belongs in the appropriate space. If it is not right, the letter is written on a space on the board or paper you are using to play, and then a body part is drawn on the writing surface. Personally, I like to make it detailed. First, I draw a head, an eye for the next wrong guess, and so on so that students have more guesses.

Fitness Variation:

I turn this into a fitness activity by having a set of exercise cards or exercises written on note cards nearby. After each guess, the guesser picks up an exercise card and everyone in the group has to do that exercise. Have one student write down the missed letters. Have another student fill in the spaces when a right letter is guessed. Let one student hold the exercise card and another draw the hangman. This way, everyone is involved, moving, and having fun. Continue reading



Jumbo Games Unit for Physical Education

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As a PE teacher, I sometimes find myself teaching the same skills and lessons each year. Teaching some of these lessons to all K-5th grade classes can get a bit repetitive, so I set out to find something new to share with my students to start out or end the school year and get them excited for PE. I had previously seen ideas on social media for Jumbo Jenga and Jumbo Kerplunk, and always wondered how I could incorporate those games into my PE classes. With those ideas in mind, I came across an inflatable bowling set as well as an inflatable field goal post with a football included. With these two additional activities, I came up with the idea of teaching a Jumbo Games Unit! This unit had a total of 4 activities, and was setup in a station format. I had groups of 4-6 students at each station and each group participated in the activities for approximately 6 minutes each.

Jumbo Jenga

You might decide to build this yourself if you are on a budget, or save time and order Jumbo Jenga online. I also decided to add a fitness twist to make the game more active. I took each block and wrote down an exercise that would be easy for my students to read and understand. These were also exercises that I had previously taught in class before, and reviewed the day of this lesson. Examples include “5 Push Ups”, “20 Second Wall Sit” and “5 Curl Ups”.

PE jumbo games

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Modified Tennis Activity for PE

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modified tennis activity PE

April showers bring May flowers!

When you have an outdoor tennis unit in April, mother nature forces you indoors quite often for physical education classes. This makes you think outside the box when guiding your students to develop their tennis skills inside a gymnasium. At this years SHAPE National Convention, I was introduced to a game called PaddleZlam (@PaddleZlam). Justin Schleider, a physical education teacher, shared this game within the #physed Voxer group. This innovative educator brought a few sets with him for us to play during the SHAPE National Convention and within minutes we were hooked! This is such a fun, energetic and active game. I could not pass up the opportunity to share this game with others. Continue reading



Four Square Hula Hoop PE Activity

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four square hula hoop PE

I am always trying to challenge my students in different ways to not only make it more enjoyable but more physically challenging. If students can learn to push their bodies more than their limit, they will find themselves feeling more successful and stronger. I found myself on Twitter looking at different activities, where I saw an activity which involved hula hoops and beanbags. The activity had more of a relay style but with a fitness component. When I did this activity with my students, I thought, “How can I use the same equipment, but turn this activity into something different which will make it more challenging and fun for the students?” This is when I came up with the Four square Hula Hoop activity.

Equipment Used:

Four Square Hula Hoop: Setup & Instructions

Students will get in a group of 4. Each student will have a hula hoop and a bean bag. Set up the hula hoops in the shape of a square, and have one bean bag in each hula hoop. On your “GO” signal, students will be in the push-up position, with their hands behind their hula hoop trying to toss bean bag(s) into the other three hula hoops. When you give the “STOP” signal, students will see how many bean bags they have in their hula hoop. Each bean bag represents a point. The object of the activity is to have the fewest amount of points at the end of each round. Continue reading



Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course for PE

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ninja warrior obstacle course

PE Teacher Justin Wiese shares his Ninja Warrior obstacle course activity that he teaches to K-6th grade students at Hopewell Elementary School in the Pleasant Valley Community School District.

Every year since our school opened 6 years ago, we borrow large crash mats that are shared throughout the five Elementary School buildings in our district. I chose to borrow the mats right after Spring Break as part of a climbing/ gymnastics unit. This started as daily activities with single classes of 20-25 kids, and has evolved into a 5-6 day unit that could accommodate double classes (about 40-50 students in the gym). The unit starts with stations where students learn things like how to climb a cargo net, go across parallel bars, balance beams, high jump, and climb large stacks of mats. The unit ends with an American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course (inspired by the television show) that works on strength, endurance, flexibility and agility. Continue reading



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