As we’re in the midst of a pandemic, it may seem difficult to find activities that keep students active while maintaining a safe distance between them. So we compiled a list of our favorite fitness games and activities that are fun for students, promote exercise, and are designed for social distancing. Simply make sure students are at least six feet apart at all times—and get moving!
Grab the yoga mats, pull out your favorite age-appropriate moves, and get students moving! Yoga is a great form of exercise that improves flexibility, strength, and coordination. It can also promote social-emotional development in children.
Try these Body Poetry: Yoga Cards to lead students in safe, fun, and healthy yoga exercises.
Simon Says (Fitness Edition)
The name of this game speaks for itself! Following the rules of Simon Says, have students imitate a variety of movements and exercises, such as squats, jumping jacks, air punches, and so on. If anyone follows an action without hearing, “Simon Says,” they’re out of the game. Continue playing until there’s only one student standing!
Line dances are choreographed dances with a repeated sequence of steps. People typically dance together in one or more lines, executing the steps at the same time. The good news: Line dancers are not in physical contact with each other.
Some popular line dances for kids include:
- Hokey Pokey
- Cha-Cha Slide
- Chicken Dance
- Electric Slide
This is a great way to transform a classic game of tag into a safe and socially distanced activity for students. Take students outside or into a large, open indoor space. Nominate someone to be “It,” and hand them a pool noodle. On go, this person must tag others with the end of the pool noodle. (The noodle is soft, so that no one gets hurt, and it helps to keep everyone at a safe distance.)
Need an activity that encourages physical activity and reinforces math skills? Try this version of Body BINGO! Give each student a BINGO board and small items to mark the spaces. To play, students must complete the math problems and accompanying exercises across, down, or diagonally to get BINGO. For example, ask them to solve 5 x 3 and do that many squats, or ask them to do 15 + 10 jumping jacks.
This is the perfect brain-break activity for your classroom or after-school program. To play, make homemade dice using two large Styrofoam blocks, construction paper, markers, and tape. One cube will have the numbers 1–6, and the other will have various exercises. Roll the dice, and have students perform the exercise shown as many times as the number die indicates.
Sidewalk Obstacle Course
Grab the sidewalk chalk, and head outside to create an obstacle course! Create a maze with wacky twists and turns. You can also add crazy directions such as, “Hop on one foot,” or “Spin three times,” to make it more physically challenging. Let students take turns trying to maneuver through the maze.
Who doesn’t love a fun game of charades? To play, write the names of various animals on slips of paper, and drop them into a jar. Have students take turns choosing a slip and acting out the animal until someone guesses the answer. Challenge them to act it out without using sounds!
Standing Pretzel Relay
This activity combines fitness, fun, and a little competition! To transform your body into a pretzel, start by standing on your left leg, then lift your right leg and cross it in front of your left knee. Then cross your arms in front of your body. On go, hop to the finish line. The first “pretzel” to cross the finish line wins!
Balance and coordination are key gross-motor skills in a child’s physical development. This game will put students’ balance to the test! To play, point your arms toward the ceiling, then lift your right leg and stretch it behind you as you keep your knees straight. Lean forward and make your body, arms, and leg parallel to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds! Now try the same sequence with your left leg! Can you do it? ZOOM!
What other ways are you keeping your students up and moving while socially distancing?