Here are 10 quick games for grades K-6 you can use in your gym.
Submitted by Monica Rader, Marietta, Georgia.
“Sponge Activities” is the term used to describe those activities that a teacher can use to “soak-up” any extra time during your classes. These games last 2-3 minutes and can add a bit of variety to your program.
#1.) At the Hop: This is a good aerobic workout when teaching the locomotor movement hopping. You”ll need that all-time favorite song – “At the Hop.” Begin by jogging in place. When the song says “hop,” the students hop on either foot 2-4 times, then return to jog. Twice during the song there are two unusual parts–the piano playing and a vocal. At this time the students do the “Twist.”
#2) Jack and Jill Parachute Poem: Our K-2 students really enjoy this parachute activity. You”ll need two small stuffed animals – one is Jack and the other is Jill. Place the stuffed animals on the parachute. We recite the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme using the following motions:
“Jack and Jill” — “Merry-Go-Round” (students walk holding the taut parachute with the left hand)
“went up the hill” — “Ripples” (students gently shake the parachute)
“to fetch a pail of water” — “Merry-Go-Round” (students walk holding the taut parachute with the left hand)
“Jack fell down” — (Students pull the parachute to a down position at knee level)
“and broke his crown” — “Mountain” (students raise the parachute to a “touchdown” position by lifting the parachute above head)
“and Jill came tumbling after.” — (Students pull the parachute to the ground as the stuffed animals tumble down)
#3) Bean Bag Eraser Chase: This game can be played while teaching balance, dodging and tagging, and/or as a warm-up when you are using bean bags. Everyone needs a bean bag and a partner. All students place the bean bag on their heads. One partner is the Cat and the other player is the Mouse.
The teacher says the word “start” and the Mice quickly move away from their partners. About 5 seconds later, the teacher says “go!” Now the Cats chase the Mice. When a player tags his or her partner, they change places. The new tagger counts to five before chasing his or her partner. If a Mouse drops his or her bean bag, the role switches. If a Cat drops a bean bag, the bean bag is replaced on his or her head and the game continues. Everyone is involved and everyone is moving! The teacher can also call “switch!” to automatically change the roles of the players.
#4) Trick or Treat: This is a Halloween freeze tag game. Play appropriate Halloween music during the game. Select players to be the taggers (Tricker) and players to be the un-freezers (Treater). The rest of the students scatter about the playing area. These players select a space and demonstrate a variety of nonlocomotor skills (dance or exercise in place) to the music.
If tagged by a “tricker,” the student is frozen and remains frozen until a “treater” tags them. When tagged by the “treater,” the student begins to move again. In a class of 60-80 students, we use 2-3 trickers and 4-6 treaters so there is a lot of activity. We have also found this to be a good time to discuss general Halloween safety hints with our students.
#5: Power Rangers: While playing the fun tag game “Pac Man,” I discovered students didn’t really know who Pac Man was. So we changed the name to Power Rangers. Same game, new name! It’s always a good idea to be familiar with all the latest cartoons and/or kid”s shows.
This game uses various lines in the gym as the pathways. Select 3-4 “Bad Guys” and “Good Guys” (Kimberly, Zach, Billy, Trini, or Jason). Everyone must travel on the lines and may not pass anyone while traveling the line. When a student comes to another student, one of the students must turn around so both players can move. If tagged by one of the “bad guys,” you must sit down out of the pathway and await a tag from one of the “good guys” to reenter the game.
#6) Peas Porridge Hot: Our students chant this rhyme while tapping two lummi sticks together. Add an upbeat instrumental song and you have a neat rhythmic routine. Kids enjoy and find it easier putting a familiar hand jive with music.
#7) The Grinch that Stole Christmas: Using our school’s die cutter, I cut up about 200 laminated objects that represented toys (bears, wagons, balloons, trees, etc). Each student is given 3 toys and asked to scatter. The Grinch (two or more, depending on the size of your class) is given a time limit to go out and steal toys from the children. (We have students walking for safety.) If all your toys are stolen, you are out of the game and must walk the perimeter of the area “crying” because your Christmas has been spoiled. After 3-5 minutes, we count to see who is the greediest and the most small-hearted Grinch of them all (the one with the most toys) and award him or her a Giant Heart and wishes of a Merry Christmas! Then, we begin another game.
#8) Synchronized Swimmers: This is a cooperative activity for groups of 4-6. Talk about synchronized swimming with the students. Ask students to create a routine together, pretending to be swimming in water. We had great fun doing this! Good rainy day activity.
#9) Three-Ring Circus: This is a warm-up activity using three circles and a ringmaster in the center of the circle. The ringmaster selects an exercise to lead the class. About every 30 seconds, a new ringmaster is chosen to lead a different and new exercise. No one can repeat the same exercise. The students have fun being leaders and it is challenging to select a different exercise each time.
#10) Jungle Journey: This is a good large group activity. The class is divided into four groups. All of the students are given a locomotor movement (such as skipping, leaping, hopping, etc.) to perform in the playing area. When the whistle is blown, all must freeze. The class members stay with their feet frozen, but may use their hands to tag other players. Group #1 is selected to continue on the “Jungle Journey.” The players in Group #1 all gather on one side of the gym and will be challenged to cross the gym (“The Jungle”) without being tagged by one of the many jungle obstacles. If tagged, the player is frozen. Continue by playing a new game, calling out a new locomotor skill, and selecting a new group to cross the jungle.