Transforming warm up exercises into exciting games is a sure way of getting the little ones energised and ready for PE. With some games to play, they'll be having so much fun that they won't even realise they're exercising! These game ideas will get their hearts pumping, muscles stretched and minds active, ready for a brilliant PE lesson.
#1 Freestyle Dancing
Plug a smart phone into the PA or portable speakers, play the youngsters' favourite tracks and let them dance the afternoon away (or for 5-10 minutes) while they warm up and stretch their muscles out. To make sure everyone's included, prepare a short routine for them to repeat and add their own moves to. Then any children slightly less eager to freestyle will have plenty of dance moves to try. As dancing is so expressive while needing memory and concentration, the children will be having so much fun they won't even realise this is exercise!
#2 Flashing Traffic Lights
This one's really simple and lots of fun. The children listen out for the different traffic light signals and run on green, jog on amber and freeze on red. While weaving in and out of each other, they listen out for the variety of signals called at random times. A little light cardio is a great way to warm up the muscles and get the heart pumping. Add in a few cones to mark the area or to add extra obstacles for the children to weave around.
#3 Ice Queens and Kings
The chosen Ice Queen or King aims to throw an 'Ice Ball' (softball) at the other players to freeze them. The moment the player is hit with the Ice Ball they must freeze to the ground on their hands and knees until another player comes to unfreeze them. The other players unfreeze them by quickly crawling underneath them between their arms and legs without being hit by the ice ball themselves.
#4 Keep Your Tail!
For this fast paced game you'll just need a coloured ribbon or tag rugby belt for each child. Each child wears their tag rugby belt with one tag attached, or a ribbon tucked into the back of their PE shorts. Everyone travels around to collect as many tags or ribbons as they can, while listening for the instructions from the teacher on how to travel; hop, skip, jog, run, side jump, walk. This uses lots of movement to get the blood pumping, encourages coordination and agility while aiming for the ribbons and encourages listening skills, so it's a very sensory exercise (game!).
#5 Growing Millipede
The growing millipede creates a big, buzzing atmosphere and requires lots of energy and agility. It's like 'tag' or 'tig', but each person tagged joins hands with the 'taggers' to create a growing millipede with lots of tagging power. Everyone must try to avoid being tagged, but if tagged they join the end of the line and continue trying to tag the others. The winner is the last person free-standing. To make it even more challenging, use softballs to tag the other players instead of just fingertips.
#6 Simon Says
A game with lots of focus and concentration, Simon Says creates lots of excitement and is a brilliant way to get everyone involved. Keeping the concentration levels up will get their minds active ready for the PE activities. The kids stand in a circle along with the teacher, calling out energetic instructions; stretch forward and touch your toes, hop on one leg, jump up and down. However, the instructions should only be followed if 'Simon Says'. It Simon doesn't say so, the little ones should stay still - this creates lots of giggles and competiton.
#7 Dance Chain
All players stand in a circle (including the teacher!) and one person will start the dance chain. This player creates a dance move on the spot and then next player repeats this dance move and adds on their own dance move. The third player then repeats both dance moves and adds on their own. The chain continues around the circle until a player forgets a move! To make it even more challenging, the players must repeat the moves in the correct sequence, but memorising all the moves can be challenging enough; especially in a large circle!
#8 Freeze and Balance!
Between running, jogging, hopping and skipping, all weaving in and out of each other, the teacher calls out a body part and everyone must stop moving and balance on that exact body part. You can even make it more challenging by adding to the number of body parts! There will be lots of laughs when the little ones are in the middle of skipping around and need to drop to the floor, land on their hands and knees, and touch the floor with their ear!
#9 Crocodile Challenge
Mark out the river area and a riverbank on either side using cones. Choose two to three players to be the crocodiles laying on their fronts in the middle of the river, and the other players must travel from one bank to the other without being eaten (tagged) by the crocodiles. This energetic game causes lots of excitement and adrenaline ready for quick moves, side jumping and stepping, encouraging agility, quick thinking and dexterity.
#10 Fun Day Racing Skills
Small races with the ever-popular accessories encourage light cardio ready for their PE workout, and the kids love the variety. Outdoor egg and spoon races, skipping, sack races and three legged races are energetic games that will get the heart rates up and slowly stretch out the muscles. Forming teams and creating tactics encourages healthy competition while the balancing, coordination and spacial awareness help develop the very same skill sets required later during PE!
Using telescopic poles or cones, mark out the course ready for the bouncy Space Hopper races or sack races! It's the perfect chance to formulate your own rules for extra variety or follow the rules included with the games. Bouncing up and down while racing their classmates is a brilliant way of getting their hearts beating, arms and legs stretched out and minds engaged ready for class.
#12 Football Skills
With indoor or outdoor football goals, a set of marker cones and a few footballs, the kids can practice their goal scoring and keeping within a small area marked out by the cones. Keeping this to a small scale and having everyone involved is a very inclusive activity that all can enjoy. Form teams to keep the goal or score, and take turns. The Fusion Football Training set comes in a handy storage bag to keep all the accessories together, and the goals quickly pop-up ready to play. It's the perfect chance to get those feet moving with some light cardio, warming up the muscles and increasing energy levels.