Top Fitness Activities For Elementary Students
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Are you a parent that is looking for elementary fitness activities that they can do at home? Do you feel like your kids don’t do enough activities at school or you are looking for something to keep them busy while indoors? If that’s the case, this article will give you plenty of great activities for young kids to choose from.
You may also be a teacher that is looking for fitness activities for elementary students to do in class that won’t take up much of your time but will help students stay focused, be engaged in their learning, develop cooperation skills with their peers and maintain a positive attitude.
Most children of all ages see any form of exercise as hard work and that it is something that they find boring making them uninterested in participating in it at all. However, if you take a physical activity and turn it into a game or something resembling a game, they will find it more interesting and enjoyable, and they definitely will want to participate in it.
Many of the well-loved games kids like to play are jam-packed with benefits like aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities. Playing active games also helps improve children’s cognitive function, such as their thinking and memory skills.
Fitness activities for elementary students can be games as simple as a pillow fight, hula hooping, rope jumping, acting out stories, or a little more complex as a scavenger hunt, spelling words and math hopscotch or an obstacle course.
Below are our different kids fitness activities that are suitable for different environments and guardians or teachers. You can pick out the activities according to the children’s preferences, your budget, the space available, and the weather.
For Parents at Home
Blown up Balloon games
Balloons are an inexpensive and fun way to entertain your kids with an endless array of games and activities that you can do with them. Balloons inspire children to chase them, jump and catch or hit them away which promotes hand-eye coordination.
Playing with a balloon can help a child in so many ways as it is a great way to get rid of excess energy, relieve stress and tension, enhance focus and concentration, boost resilience, builds persistence. A big bonus is that it is one of the low budget indoor fitness activities for kids because balloons are cheap and easily available to almost anyone.
Play Follow the leader
If you are playing this game at home, you will be the leader and get your kids to match every move you make. It is a good and easy way to get a good workout especially if you add energetic movements such as hopping, skipping, jumping, crawling, kicking, stomping, and squatting.
Have a dance party
A dance party is an easy fitness activity for kids to do that is both creative and fun. Play one of your kid’s favorite upbeat songs and let your kids dance. Let them try out different moves of their own by lifting their legs, swinging their arms, leaping and twirling in the air or you can simply make up a dance for them to follow.
To add a little extra fun to your dance party, including the action of freeze dance. When the music stops, everyone must freeze in their pose and hold it until the next song begins.
Organize a scavenger hunt
Write up some clues and hide some things around your house or in the backyard and have your kids’ race to find each clue. You can include an extra requirement with each clue for a few more exercises, like “Air punch four times before moving on to the next clue.”
Hopscotch is an oldie but still, a lot of fun. Draw the hopscotch game on your floor or driveway by using chalk or tape and let them play the game.
If your kids find it a little boring change it by drawing an elaborate and detailed maze instead where they can run or race through it without touching any of the lines.
An obstacle course
Create an engaging and challenging obstacle course either outside or inside. Inside you can construct an obstacle course by using furniture, couch cushions, blankets, and other household objects and items. You can get your kids to climb under and over objects, figure out how to get through a web of string without touching any.
An obstacle course outside can involve a lot more physical activities like running, jumping and diving over, under and through certain objects.
Have pillow fights
What child does not enjoy a good pillow fight? Pillow fights have always been a fun activity for kids to do, especially while standing on a bed. But while they are falling, laughing and enjoying themselves, their arms and leg muscles are getting a good workout.
This is a great fitness activity if you have hard and smooth surfaces in your house. Your kids can put on a pair of socks and slip and slide around on the floor while trying to do different tricks or see who can slide the farthest or fastest.
Wheelbarrow or crab walk races
Wheelbarrow or crab walk races are tough to do but are great exercises and a lot of fun to do and watch. You can have your kids’ race from one end of a room or yard to the other end while trying to keep their position.
A jump rope is such a simple but great aerobic exercise for students and is still a favorite on and off the playgrounds. A child can use it alone and learn many basic jumping skills like scissor jumps and cross jumps or they can play many different jump rope games with other children.
Jump roping is a great activity for cardiovascular health, it strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time, it can act as a calming technique and it is also proven to improve coordination too.
There are many types of games, activities, and songs that are associated with a jump rope that a child can learn to do. Just to name a few like:
- The Whirlwind Challenge
- Relay Race
- Cat and Mouse
- Catch Me
- Action Jumping
- Follow Me
- Partner Jumping
Most children love to hula hoop, it is another great way for them to exercise their hips, back, arms and shoulder muscles, so get your children some hula hoops, teach them how if they don’t know and watch them have fun while they wiggle their bodies around.
For Teachers at Elementary School
Getting active in the classroom will help students improve their health and ultimately their academic performance. These fitness activities for elementary students do not have to take up a lot of time, they can be short physical activity breaks, known as energy breaks of three to four minutes just enough to get the blood pumping again, relieve boredom, reduce tension and increase your students’ level of alertness. They can also be used as fun PE fitness activities for elementary students to do.
Some of the well-known energy breaks that can be done in the classroom
- Jumping Jacks
- Marching by lifting your knees
- Same spot jogging
- The same spot fast walking
- Rotating stretched out arms backward and forward
- Pretend rope skipping and adding rope skipping tricks
- Pretend different swimming stroke movements
- Ball throwing movements
- Basketball jump shot movements
- A variety of dance steps like steps backward, forward and to the side
- Pointing to various body parts, like ears, head, shoulders, knees, and hips
- Pretend weight training movements like arm curls, weight lifting, bench presses, squats, and triceps extensions
To make it, even more, engaging for the students, you can add some music so that they can do the different movements to the beat of the song. Maybe even come up with their own routine that includes a couple, if not all of the movements. Below are some exciting and fun fitness games for kids to choose from.
This easy fitness activity will challenge students to improve coordination and develop quick reflexes. To get started, get the students to clap their hands in the usual position they would use to clap for a performance on stage, right in front of their bodies, for about 30 seconds.
Then get them to clap above their heads, behind their backs all for about 30 seconds each, and ask them to explain which muscles were used to do each movement.
Act Out Stories
If you’re looking for physical education activities for kids you can play the act out stories game. It does not matter what class you teach, you can get your students to act out actual stories, poems, scientific or mathematical concepts, and even historical and cultural movements.
With this, you would first choose or create a story and explain to the students that they would not use any words to act it out but would need to use the movements in the story or concept. These movements would include actions like running on the spot, pretending to swim, throw a ball or any other relevant action that may be required to explain the story to the rest of the class or do the actions while you read the story to them.
Fitness Activities for Elementary students to do on the playground or in a gym
For these types of elementary fitness activities, a little more space than a classroom may be required for it to be a success. These activities will be a success as outdoor activities or as fun gym activities for elementary students.
Red light, green light
Play the red light, green light game on the playground or in the gym, and help students exercise and learn to follow instructions by helping them to pause, think, and make a decision before reacting. Although it is not necessary you can add color visuals by making a red, yellow, and green sign which will also help students learn a little about color as well.
How to Play:
- Line your group of elementary students along a horizontal straight line across from you, the starting line.
- If you shout the words ‘Green Light’ everyone must start to move slowly towards you, the finish line.
- If you shout the words ‘Red Light’ everyone must immediately stop and freeze in the position that they are in
- If you say “Yellow Light”, they must all go in slow motion
- You can start a new round when everyone gets across the finish line or when most of the students have crossed the finish line.
Skipping games are more than just a game, they are a great exercise that helps improve a student’s muscular strength and endurance, bone density, and reflexes. Skipping games help build character, friendships, they conquer shyness and inspire creativity. A few examples of skipping games are:
Rock the Baby
Two students will hold the rope, one on each side and rock it side to side, without it being turned. Another student will then jump the rope in between the two students two times before they can exit the rope. The next student will have their turn, then the next until all the students have had a turn.
They will then skip again but this time the rope will be raised a little higher and every time a student misses a jump they will be out. This will carry on will each round the rope will get higher until there is only one student left.
Cat and Mouse
The purpose of cat and mouse is to get students to move through the rope, jumping, and tagging as fast as possible. Each player must run around one of the students holding the rope, then they will jump the rope in the middle and around the other student holding the rope on the other side while forming a figure eight as they go. The mouse will jump the rope without getting tagged and the cat will jump and tag the mouse.
Jump Rope Challenge
Divide the students into groups to form a team to compete against each other. Each team of jumpers will need to work together to figure out how to get the most jumps.
Hop Scotch Math or Spelling
One of the super fun physical education activities for kids is this hopscotch maths or spelling game. You draw sets of hopscotch grids with chalk on some paving in the schoolyard. You can either use numbers to answer a math problem or letters to spell the word out. Let each student hop through the grid and answer the question with each hop.
Another favorite fitness activity for elementary students to perform on a playground or in the school gym is the game of octopus. With this game, you will have two boundaries, one on one side and another on the opposite side with the octopus in the middle. Choose one student to be the octopus and let them stand in the middle of the game area with their arms and legs extended out.
The other students will start off by lining up in a horizontal line on one side and when the octopus shouts out the word “Octopus”, all other students must then run towards the octopus and try to get to the opposite side without being tagged or caught.
The students that are caught will become “seaweed” and will be the octopus’s helpers by sitting on the ground with their arms and legs stretched out and will help the octopus tag or catch the remaining students.
If you are a parent/guardians or teacher looking for physical fitness activities for elementary students that will get the blood pumping again, relieve boredom, reduce tension and increase your students’ level of alertness, think of quick games or activities that will keep the students focused on the fun and they will not notice that they are actually working out.
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