It’s easy to get into the habit of doing the same warm-ups every week. Below you will find some fun warm-up/minor game ideas to spice up your routine. Enjoy!
1. Drawing Relay
Have students create teams of five and then line up across from a surface that they can draw on (ex. whiteboard or paper on the wall). Show them what person one will draw (ex. a circle), person two (ex. pedals around the circle), and so on. On “Go!” they run across the space and draw their designated item, run back and tag the next person who runs over to draw their portion. Continue until everyone has gone. First team to be seated with the lid on their marker wins – unless their drawing is a mess :). Students love this one. After the initial round, I usually let a student choose the next picture to draw.
2. Tic Tac Toe Relay
Two teams of 3, each with their own colour. Set up 9 hula hoops or flat cones 3 x 3. Each student will have 1 pinny or beanbag in their team colour. On “Go!”, the first person from each team will run down to the tic tac toe board and place their marker in one of the hula hoops. After they place the marker, they will race back to their line to high-five the next student in line. The next student will run over and place their marker in an open hoop. The goal is to have your team get 3 in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). If all 3 markers have been played and there is no tic tac toe, the next student in line will run down and move one of their own team markers into an open hula hoop. I usually have three games going on at once and rotate teams through a mini tournament.
3. Squirrels and Acorns
Place four cones in a large square and have teams line up behind their cone. Place 8 bean bags in the centre. On “Go!” each team has one person run to the centre and grab a bean bag to bring back to their cone. They tag their teammate who now goes, while they go to the back of the line. Once all of the bean bags are gone from the centre, teams can take bean bags from other teams cones. The first team to get three bean bags at their cone wins. * Only one bean bag can be picked up at a time and only one player from each team can be out at a time.
4. Richard Simmons Workout
Pull out that old VHS, and do a song or two for warm-up. The more 80s the workout, the better!
5. Look Down Look Up
Everyone stands in a large circle. When the facilitator says, “LOOK DOWN” everyone must look at their feet. The facilitator will then say, “LOOK UP!” At this point people must look up, and look directly at the eyes of one other person in the group. If that person is looking at you (so you are looking at each other) do 5 jumping jacks, etc., then rejoin the game. Or, have two or three circles playing at a time and when people make eye contact they have to run to the next circle and join them.
6. The Pizza Game
Everyone gets a mat (their “pizza). The “pizza” has to be held overhead like a tray, and cannot be gripped in any way. Once the game begins, everyone runs around and tries to knock over everyone else’s pizza. If a student drops their pizza, they do an exercise – ex. 2 burpees.
7. Hungry Hungry Hippos
Create a small space and split the class into two equal teams. Each team starts on the opposite end of the designated space. Place medicine balls and weights in a pile in the centre. On “Go!” everyone crab walks as fast as possible to the pile where they grab a medicine ball or weight, place it on their lap, and crab walk back to their end line to drop the ball/weight off. Continue for a set time or until there are no weights/balls in the centre. The team with the most pounds moved wins!
8. Shoe Scramble
Students place shoes in a pile at the end of the playing area. On “Go” they race to the shoes, put their shoes on (completely tied, etc.), and then race back.
9. One Out
Students race to an item (ex. pile of pinnies), grab one, and then run back to the start. Those that didn’t get the item have to do a certain exercise. You can continue eliminating items or people until there is one pinny left.
10. Evolution Rock Paper Scissors
Everyone starts as an egg – walking around in a crouch. They play rock paper scissors with someone. If they lose, they stay an egg. If they win, they become a chicken – walking around with their hands in their armpits and moving their arms like a chicken. Chickens will play rock paper scissors against each other – if they lose they go back to an egg; if they win, they become a monkey. Monkeys rock paper scissors each other. If they lose they go back to a chicken; if they win they become a rock star – pretending to play a guitar. If they lose as a rock star, they go down to a monkey. If they win as a rock star they are the champion.
Students choose one piece of equipment and place it somewhere in the gym. One student is across the gym with their back to their classmates and calls out “Go go go go stop”. The rest of the students are trying to run across the gym to touch them. When the student at the front yells “Stop!”, the rest of the students have to hide behind a piece of equipment. If the person at the front turns around and sees them, they call their name, and that student goes back to the start. The first person to tag the student at the front is the winner.
After one game, I let students trade in their piece of equipment for another piece if they choose. Now that they know the game, they usually get out much bigger items, and the game becomes more fun. You can also play with the front person facing the rest of the students and throwing dodgeballs at them as they are running towards them – I let seven or so student run at a time. If they get hit, they are out. If someone touches the person at the front without being hit by a dodgeball, they are the winner.
12. Rats and Rabbits
Make two teams which will line up facing each other, and give them each a name. This example is “rats” and “rabbits”, but I usually ask a student on each team “What is your favourite animal?”, or “What is your favourite basketball team?”, etc. and give them that name. The teacher calls out a team name and the players on that team must run to the opposite wall without being touched by the other team who is chasing them. If they are touched you can have them do an exercise (ex. 10 jumping jacks) or have them join the other team. You can also call out a specific action (jogging, skipping, etc.) that students have to do instead of running, or have students start in various positions (lying on their chest facing the other team, sitting on their bottom facing away from the other team, etc.).
13. Sleeping Bag Pull
One student sits on a sleeping bag or blanket, and their teammates pull them across the gym, around a cone, and back. Continue until all teammates have had a turn sitting on the sleeping bag. * Make sure that the person is firmly on the sleeping bag before pulling them.
14. Relay Lock Race
Students choose a partner and stand back-to-back while locking arms at the elbows and holding their own stomachs with their hands. On “Go!” they must cross the specified space without taking their hands off of their stomachs. This one requires teamwork, and usually gets a lot of laughs.
15. Protector and Nemesis
Have students stand in a circle and ask them each to secretly pick another person in the class – this will be their protector. Ask them to now pick a different person in their head – this will be their nemesis. On “Go!”, everyone must move so that they keep their protector between themselves and their nemesis at all times. Depending on who they all choose, this game can be hilarious.
Variation: Have students choose a partner. One partner stands up and the other sits in a designated area (usually against a wall). The people who are standing, choose a protector and nemesis as above. On “Go!” they begin to move around and the seated partner watches. After a minute or so, stop the game and have the seated partners guess who their partner’s protector and nemesis were.
16. Move Your Butt
Have students sit in a circle, making sure that there are no gaps. One person will stand in the middle and say “Move your butt if _______________”. Examples would be “…you have a dog.”, “…you’re wearing red.”, etc. If that applies to any of the students in the circle, they must stand up and move at least two spaces away from their spot. At the same time, the person standing in the middle also tries to sit in one of the open spots. Whoever doesn’t get a spot becomes the next person standing in the middle calling out a category.
17. Freeze Frame
Have students close their eyes. Tap one student on the head – they are the leader. Put on some music if you like and have students move around the designated space. They can freestyle or you can give them direction (ex. jog, dance, etc.). They must also be aware of their surroundings because when the leader freezes everyone else has to freeze as well. If you like, you can have the person who freezes last do 5 jumping jacks.
18. Negative Space
Have students make groups of 5-6 people and number themselves 1-5/6. When the teacher calls out a number, the student who has been assigned that number (from each group) will run across the space and pose. The teacher will call out another number and that student (from each group) will run over to their group member and pose in the negative space (empty space around them). Continue until all students are posing. Choose which group has the best pose. I usually do it one more time, having students run back to their original starting position as I call out numbers again.
Play some music and have students move around a designated space. You can let them freestyle or give them direction (ex. butt kicks, hop on one foot, etc.). Stop the music and call out an action that they have to do with a partner – ex. five jumping high tens (jump up and hit both hands together in the air five times). Tell them that when the music stops next time, they will have to find their original partner and do five jumping high tens and then find a new partner and do whatever you call. Examples of new actions could be 1. Sit-up high tens (face each other and do sit-ups, high fiving both hands at the top each time) 2. Squats facing each other and holding hands 3. Plank high fives (face partner in plank position and alternate hands to give each other a high five) 4. Something silly such as making a fun face and saying “Have a good workout girl”. Continue adding actions for as long as it is fun/they can remember.
Play some music and have students move around a designated space. You can let them freestyle or give them direction (ex. jogging backwards, hopping, etc.). Stop the music and call out a number. Students then have to form a group with that amount of people. If you like, you can have anyone that is not in a group do five jumping jacks. I try to call out a few numbers at the start that will allow everyone to find a group, and then start calling numbers that will have people left out.