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Playing Card Warm-up

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Here’s a great warm-up for grades 3-6.  
Submitted by Karen Bernstein, Atlanta, Georgia.


This is a great warm-up activity that we use throughout the year. It is especially helpful when working with double classes, since the classes usually do not arrive at the same time. It is an easy-to-do activity that the students enjoy!


  • Two decks of regular playing cards with the 2′s, 3′s and 4′s removed.
  • Four posters with different warm-up activities written on them.
  • Assorted equipment and upbeat music!

Organization: As the students enter the gym, they immediately begin jogging three laps around the perimeter of the gym. When they have finished, they go to the middle of the room and choose a playing card from the pile. They match the suit of the playing card to one of the four posters in the corners of the gym and go to that corner. The posters tell them what activity to perform and the number on the playing card tells them the number of repetitions.

#1: Set-up the gym in advance. #3: Students perform five exercises
#2: Students jog three laps. #4: Students line up in squads

For example, if a player draws a ten of spades, he goes to the wall push-ups station and performs 10 wall push-ups. When completed, he goes back to the center of the gym to get another card. Picture cards count as 10 and aces are 11. When the students complete five cards, they sit on their “squad lines” for class directions. Upbeat music is playing during this time.

In about 5 minutes, all of the students have entered the gym and performed some warm-ups to prepare them for an active physical education class! Stations can include: push-ups, sit-ups, hula hoop, jump rope, sit and stretch, jump over a pole, jumping jacks, or object and target activities. Have fun!!

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