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Games for Limited Spaces

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Games for grades K-6.  Submitted by Darlene Dunklau, North Bend, Nebraska.

Background: I teach at some very small, rural schools where space is very limited. Here are some activities that the kids really like.


Grades: K-6

- One scooter
- One small primary size chair per team or one step aerobics box per team

How We Do It: One team and one scooter are positioned behind a cone at one end of the gym. At the other end is a small chair (back against the wall to avoid movement and/or injury) and a teammate sitting on the floor. Between the team and chair is another cone. We have four teams participating at one time in our small gym.

Everyone Warm-Up! Everyone does 10 jumping jacks with the first fireman. The fireman then lays prone on the scooter and uses only his arms to push himself to the first cone (about 10 yards), around the cone, and then to the chair at the other side (another 10 yards away), where the teammate (the person who needs to be rescued) is sitting on the floor. The fireman must “run up the stairs to rescue the victim” (perform 10 chair step-ups).

Performing the Step-Ups: The count is up-up; down, down. Step up on the right foot, bring the left foot up on the chair; now step down with the right foot and down with the left foot. That is one set. Continue to 10.

The Rescue! While the fireman is doing this, the victim makes sure that the scooter is not beneath the fireman’s foot and sits on the scooter with legs crossed and holds the middle of the scooter, being careful to avoid the wheels. The fireman will now rescue the victim, who he pushes around the middle cone and back to the starting cone. The fireman now jogs backward to the chair and becomes the next victim. The person who was rescued goes to the end of the line. The next person at the head of the line is the fireman and the entire group does 10 jumping jacks with him and the relay continues through the entire line.

Teacher Tips: We have the younger students do 5 instead of 10 repetitions at each end (jumping jacks and step-ups). The sixth graders do 15 of each. For variation, we have had the whole team do knee push-ups during the time that the fireman is pulling himself on the scooter and around the cones. If your gym is larger, you may want to go across the gym instead of lengthwise so you can have more teams.


Grades: K-2

- Hula hoop for each student
- Red, yellow and green construction paper
- Music from the soundtrack “The Flintstone: Music from Bedrock”

Background: This is a neat warm-up activity. The students stand inside their hoops and hold it around themselves as they run with the music from the soundtrack. They are instructed to stay on the road (lines on the gym floor). If they approach another Bedrock commuter on the road, they may go to their right to allow them to pass. We start by explaining the safety things we do before we back our cars out of the garage — buckle the seat belt, check the mirror, and look behind you as you slowly back into the street. Then they are off! The children really enjoy moving to the music, especially the “ya ba da ba dooos!”

Controlling the Traffic: I also play the part of a traffic policewoman. Using three colored sheets of construction paper (red, yellow and green), I blow my whistle and hold up a colored sheet to change their speeds. They run on green, jog in place on yellow, and stop on red. We discuss what each color means prior to running.


Grades: 4-6

Background: Our students love fast-paced tag games that can be played in our limited space and this is one of their favorites.

To start the game, everyone must spread out around the edges of the gym. All students are “Flies.” At my signal, all the flies leave the wall areas and tag as many as possible, being careful to not be tagged themselves. If tagged, the player becomes a “Frog” and sits cross legged. All frogs, however, may tag any flies flying by them, changing the fly into a frog also. The game continues until all but one fly is eliminated.

The Fly Swatter: I am the “fly swatter” — any time I spot a fly resting on the wall I count “1…2…3!,” and if the fly hasn’t moved, it is swatted (must sit down and be a frog). This is an exciting game as the flies must avoid other flies and the frogs with their sticky “tongues” (hands reaching out to touch them).

Teacher Tip: You may need to remind the frogs to keep their feet on the ground and not stand while reaching for the flies.

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