Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Gym Games for School-Age Kids!

March 24, 2010 16:59 by Barbara Shelby

QUESTION: Besides exercise, what benefit do children receive from games?

 

Many games help children learn skills they need to know: 
   • How to solve problems...
   • How to do things hand and body wise ...
   • How to follow directions and rules...
   • How to be fair...  •How to wait their turn...

Lots and lots of games on KidActivities! Be sure to check out the many games in the category list on the left side of each page! There are also games in every 'Theme and Holiday' Category.

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THE BLOB TAG
Designate boundaries. Depending on the size of the play group, one or more children are the Blob.
Any one tagged by the Blob must join hands and become part of it.
Object: For the Blob to devour everyone and for everyone else to stay alive as long as possible.

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GARBAGE BALL
Use whatever you have that can be thrown and not hurt anyone…
Balls, wads of paper, sock balls, rubber chickens, koosh balls, etc.
Have two equal teams with a center line.
Each team starts with the same amount of items.
At the signal each team throws whatever it can get their hands on—from their side of the line to the other side.

Players continue to throw until the signal to stop (or if music is used when you play—and the music stops)
The winning team is the side with the least amount of garbage on it’s side.
To play more rounds—divide the garbage evenly again and continue. Keep score of whoever has the most wins.

You can add interest by having the “losing team” pick up all “garbage” or have both teams pick up garbage but the losing team has to do what the winning teams directs---such as accomplish a certain amount of push-ups- sit-ups, etc.

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BAND-AID TAG
One person is "it." Whenever someone is tagged by "it" they must hold a bandaid (their hand) on the spot where they were tagged. Then the game continues.
When someone runs out of bandaids, (they get tagged three times), they are frozen until two other people come over to them and "operate."

The two other people need to tag the frozen person at the same time and count to five. 
Switch the person who is "it" often.

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OCTOPUS
Play as with dodge ball, but instead of sitting out to the side-- players sit down where they are tagged by the ball.  From their sitting position, the octopus (tagged kids) help with tagging any players who get close enough to be touched. If a player is caught this way, they also sit down where they have been caught.

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LIGHTHOUSE AND SHIPS
One player is designated to be the lighthouse.
One quarter of the players assumes the role of “rocks” and they scatter in a bounded area.
All the other students become ships and boats of various sizes.

  • The ships blindly navigate their way (eyes closed) their way about, attempting to reach the safety of the lighthouse.
  • If a boat bumps into a rock, the boat becomes and extension of the existing rock and makes the noise “swish” (water lapping against the rocks).
  • The lighthouse constantly goes “Beep! Beep! Beep!” to help the ships reach the safety of the lighthouse. 

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CONTINUEITY BALL
Equipment :3 Balls (Beach Balls)
Players scatter over the playing area and a ball is tossed into the air. The objective is to keep the ball in the air using any part of the body.
Once one ball is up, get two or three balls going at the same time.
Keep count of the number of times the ball (or balls) is kept up in the air before it hits the ground.
Youth try and better the number next time around.

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DRAG THE BODY
K-6…Promotes cooperation and develops strength...
Need several old sheets or blankets

#1 Version: Divide the group into two teams.
Give each team a blanket.
Have one player from each team lie down on the blanket.
The teams must drag the body on the blanket from one end of the gym or yard to the other.
Whoever crosses the finish line first, wins.

#2 Version: You can also increase the number of kids on the blanket and have more draggers pulling them…or have an entire team get on the blanket and try to move to the destination point and back by rolling, scooting, shuffling, etc.

#3 This vesion is played as a relay...
Have players form teams of 6-10.
Players form pairs within their teams.
Object is that one player drags his/her partner who is laying or sitting on the sheet or blanket to the end of the room (or where you decide) and drag back again.
(They can also switch at the half-way point.- If they don't switch half-way -they go all the way back and then switch places.
Each pair repeats the process-- until all have had a chance to drag and be dragged.

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CRAB KICK
Supplies:
Ball of any type,
Large area for play
Something for a goal (desk, basket, trash can).

  • Divide  group into two equal-sized teams and have them sit on the floor at opposite ends of the room.
  • Place a goal at each end and the ball in the center of the room.
  • When given the signal for play to start, the children must crab walk to the ball and attempt to kick the ball toward their goal and score.
  • Players must stay in the crab-walk position the entire game. Failure results in the opposing team getting a free kick.
  • After a goal is scored, the ball is placed in the center of the play area and the game resumes.
  • The first team to reach an agreed-upon number of points wins.
    From Indoor Action Games for Elementary Children (1989, Parker Publishing).

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SPIN AND RUN
It's a simple race.
First, hold a broom or baseball bat in the air, looking at the top of it.
Keeping your eye on the top, spin in a circle 10 times.
Now (try to) run to the finish line. Lot's of silly fun should follow...

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TRUE OR FALSE

  • The players are divided into 2 equal teams standing on either side of a center line.
  • One of these is the "True" team and the other is the "False" team.
  • Each team has a goal on either side of the center line.
  • When the leader gives a true statement, such as "Grass is Green", the true players run for their goal, chased by the false team.
  • If tagged, the members of the true team become members of the false team. (and just the opposite if the question is false)
  • The team that has the most players at the end of the playing time is the winner.

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BED SHEET PING PONG
Players stand and hold a bed sheet on opposite ends.
A ping pong ball is placed onto the sheet.
The sheet is then raised or lowered.
The object of the game is to get the ping pong ball to fall off the other team's side of the sheet.

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BODY PART FREEZE TAG
Body part freeze tag is just like regular freeze tag except once tagged, you are NOT completely frozen.

  • Select one or two children to be “it.” These children run around tagging other children.
  • If a child is tagged on the arm, only the arm is frozen.
  • If tagged on the leg, only the leg is frozen, so the child must hop on one leg.
  • If both legs are tagged, the child can pull himself along the ground with arms (assuming they weren’t already tagged).
    The object is to completely freeze as many as possible.
    If you want, you can have others unfreeze body parts as well.

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PRISONER OF WAR
Children are divided into teams. Each team selects one child from their team to be the prisoner of the other team; the two prisoners are placed in jail.
This can be a designated area or a chalk box if playing outside.
The teams each line up and the object of the game is to free the prisoner from the other team.

The teams must get to the prison by going to the other team’s side to free the prisoner.
If tagged, that child then becomes a prisoner too and must go to jail.
If a child makes it to jail, he or she is safe as long as he is inside the prison.
The rescuer can only rescue one person at a time and can choose the right time to “break for it.”

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WHAT TIME IS IT MR. WOLF?
This game is fast-paced and great for a larger group.

  • One child is Mr. Wolf and stands against the wall with their back to the room.
  • The rest of the children line up on the opposing wall.
  • The children ask in unison, "What time is it, Mr. Wolf?"
  • Mr. Wolf gives a time, such as 5 o'clock, and the children take that many steps towards Mr. Wolf.
  • Eventually, Mr. Wolf answers, "Lunchtime," and turns to chase the children back to the wall.
  • Any child who gets tagged before reaching the wall becomes a Wolf as well.
  •  The balance of the game soon shifts, with all children becoming Wolves.

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CATCHING STARS (Similar to Mr. Fox)
This game was developed in Africa...

  • Divide the players into two groups: Stars and Catchers.
  • Set up two boundaries about twenty feet apart.
  • Catchers: Stand in the middle of the two boundaries
  • Stars: Stand on one side of the boundaries
  • Catchers: Say "Star light, star bright, how many stars are out tonight."
  • Stars: Say "More than you can catch!"
  • The stars run across to the other end and try not to get tagged.
  • The winner is the last person to get caught.

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BROOM HOCKEY
Required: Brooms, rubber ball, and goals (boxes or buckets)
Players: 2 or more
This game can be played in any size room.

  • Make two goals opposite of each other.
  • Start the game with a face-off in the center of the room.
  • Opponents attempt to hit the puck into the opposite goal.
  • The goalie is allowed to block shots in any way he desires.
  • Penalties may be assessed for delaying the game, holding the puck with hands or feet, high sticking or other unnecessary roughness.
  • The opposite team may receive a free shot (except for goalie) on goal when penalties occur.
  • For large groups limit number of players and substitute once a score is made.

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FOUR SQUARE
You need: A gym floor with 4 squares ...

  • The player in square 4 serves the ball by bouncing it in his square and tapping the ball into another square.
  • The player in that space must tap the ball (after one bounce) into another kid's area, and so on, until someone misses the ball, lets the ball bounce twice, or sends it out of the grid.
  • The player who misses the ball steps out and the remaining players rotate up through the numbered squares.
  • If you are playing with more than four players, a new player enters the game at square 1.
  • The player who is out waits in line to re-enter the game once square 1 is open again.
  • Whoever is now in square 4 serves the ball to resume play.

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BLINDED FOUR CORNERS
Required: Blindfold
Players: Medium to large groups
Here’s a quick game that can be played in a classroom or gym.

  • Select one player to wear a blindfold and they are to be placed into the center of the room.
  • Once the player is blindfolded and in position, the other players must stand in one of the four corners.
    They must do this very quietly (no talking allowed) and within 10 seconds.
  • If a player is not in a corner by the time your done counting, that player is out of the game.
  • The player that is blindfolded will point to one of the corners and all the players in that corner will be out of the game.
  • To be fair you cannot go to one corner, make noises and then quickly move to another corner.
  • If no one is in a selected corner, the players have 5 seconds to get to another corner before a new corner is selected.
  • The one person that was never found will be the new player in the middle.

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MINE FIELD
In an area of 60x30 (volley ball court or gym) place squeaky toys, balloons, chairs, ropes. and cones randomly about.
Kids form partners.
One person is blindfolded; their partner must talk them through the "mine field."
Partners may not touch each other at any time.
Try and make it from one side of the playing area to the other.
Several pairs may try to maneuver at the same time...

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PICK-POCKET TAG (Or Tail Tag)
Need Flags or a strip of cloth to be used as a tail.
Players have a tail inserted into his/her belt or pocket that is hanging at the back-side.
All players chase one another trying to collect tails, while protecting his/her own.
Players with the most tails collected in a specified time are the winners.

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STICKY POPCORN
The children begin by " popping " around the gym as pieces of sticky popcorn, searching for other pieces of popcorn.
When two pieces of popcorn meet, they stick together.
Once stuck together, they continue to pop around together, sticking to even more pieces, until they end up in a big popcorn ball.

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BARNYARD
(This could also be called Zoo, Ocean, Circus, or Outer Space, if you are having a "Theme"; You'd just change the names to go with the theme.)

  • Depending how many children you have--form teams. You can have anywhere from 3 Teams to ?????
  • Teams are in their groups and one end of the gym.
  • Players in teams have DESIGNATED NAMES:
    Sheep, Cows, Horses, Pigs, etc.
  • Two or three persons are "It" in the middle of the room.
  • "It" calls out the names of the animals (Example - Sheep)
  • All sheep must run to the pen at the opposite end of the room without being caught.
  • When "BARNYARD" is called, everyone must run to the opposite end.
  • Penalty for being caught is to run all around the barnyard (A LAP OF THE GYM) once--- and then they can come back in the game!
    (Remember to change the "It" people)

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THE QUIET OLYMPICS

  • DISCUS THROW: Use a paper plate
  • SHOT-PUT: Use a balloon
  • TRACK RACE: Each player lines up at the start line and race by placing the heel of one foot against the toe of the next. The first one to the end of the track and back wins.
  • HIGH JUMP: Each contestant takes a deep breath and whistles. The contestant who holds the note the longest wins.
  • HIGH DIVE: Each player stands on a chair (or faces the chair back-rest and then kneels chair seat) with ten clothes pins and drops them into an empty bottle. The player that gets the most wins. Source: allthedaze.com

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FITNESS MANIA
Required: Playing cards (preferably larger size) and activity slips-two of each directive (be creative)
Players: Small to large groups

  • For 'Fitness Mania' the players will perform a variety of fitness activities in order to improve their own levels of physical fitness. (Muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, flexibility and cardio respiratory endurance). Present it as a game!

  •  Divide into two teams; each team will line up in a horizontal single file on opposite sides of the card and activity slip piles.
  • The first person on each team will run towards the middle and pick up a card and and activity slip.
  • Each card represents a number. 2 =2, Jack = 11, Ace = 14, etc. That is the number of times the team will perform the task. Note: If a player picks up an activity that their team has already done, they must pick another activity slip.
  • Players will run back towards their group then read and perform the activity as a group. (Example: Do ____ curl-ups).
  • The next person in line then goes and the game continues until all of the cards or activity slips are gone.
  • The team that finishes first wins.

Exercise ideas:
Sit ups, push ups, right sideway leg lift, left side-way leg lift, run in place, shoulder rolls, jumping jacks, hop on right foot, hop on left foot, jump up and down, scissor jump-steps, siwmming from waist motion, jump rope in place-without a rope, etc.

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PRUIE
Everyone walks around with their eyes closed in a small space.
When they bump into someone--they ask, "Pruie?"
If "Pruie" is said back to you--- then they are not the person you are looking for and you continue looking in the group.

The referee has whispered to one person, telling them that they are the "Pruie".
The Pruie does not have to close their eyes and if someone bumps into them and asks "Pruie?" they do not respond.
This is the clue to join onto their hand and open your eyes.
The fun comes when there is only one person left to find the Pruie!

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RED-LIGHT-GREEN LIGHT
Select one child,to start the game and be the “stoplight”.
All the children line up on the other side of gym.
The 'stoplight' yells “Green light!” and the children lined up start running.
Object of game: The first one to make it to the stoplight wins and is now the stoplight.
It gets tricky when the stoplight changes...

  • The stoplight should yell “Red light!” to get children to stop.
  • Any movement by a child means she is sent back to the beginning.
  • The stoplight can also call out “yellow light” which means the children can only walk very slowly.
  • Variations to this game include yelling “red light” two times in a row, or adding body movements. Say “green light” with your arms up one time and then say “red light,” but throw your arms up again to confuse runners into thinking your body language says “green light.”

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HULA HOOP FREEZE TAG
Scatter out several hula hoops around the floor.
Assign taggers to freeze the other players.
Students inside a hula hoop can not get frozen, but can only stay long enough to count to 10.
Only one child per hula hoop is allowed.

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"IT" TAG
This game is played like traditional tag.
The number of children playing, will determine the number of "ITS" you have--which would normally be from 1 to 3.
Every ______ minutes, change your "It".

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NOSE AND TOE TAG
Formation : Scatter
Three or four players are "It".
Players try to tag others.
Other players can be immune from the tag by holding their nose with one hand and their toes with the other.
They can only hold this pose for three seconds.
They must immediately start to run after stopping in his manner.
When tagged they also become an "It".

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PROTECT YOUR 'TARGET' (A TAG GAME)

1. Choose one child to become "It."
2. Divide the remaining players into teams of three members each. Each team will choose one of the three members to be a target. The target on each team will wear an identifying marker such as a piece of masking tape.
3. The Game:
Players  hold onto their teammates' wrists.  "It"  counts to 10 while the other players move away from him/her. Players continue to hold each others wrists during the entire game.
4. Once "It" reaches 10, they race to each team and try to tag the targets.
5. Each team  blocks/protects their target.
The winning team is the one that avoids having its 'target' tagged.

If a large group of children are playing, have more than one "It".

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MOTHER MAY I?
All the children line up side by side except the player who is the caller. The caller stands at a distance from the lined up players.
He calls on each player in turn to take a number of steps toward him. The steps allowed are: baby steps, giant steps, and scissor steps (like forward jumping jacks.)
The player answers "Mother, may I?"

The mother answers "Yes, you may."
The player takes the given number of steps toward the caller.
If the player forgets to ask permission after they get directions--- and takes steps toward the caller--- they are sent back to the starting line. The first player to reach the caller is the winner and new caller.
Idea: Change the name to the season: Teacher May I? Santa, Snowman, Cupid, Leprechaun, Bunny, etc.

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MONKEY TAG
Scatter with 3 or 4 kids who are "It".

  • When players are tagged, they must lie on their backs, feet up in the air.
  • They are free if another person can touch both feet with their elbow before being caught.
  • Time game so many get a turn at being "It".

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CATS IN THE CORNER
Need Soft balls- For Medium to large groups

  • Mark off square play area.
  • The ball thrower will be in the center of the square.
  • There are safe zones at each of the corners where all the players called 'Cats' will be.
  • When the thrower calls "Cats In The Corner", the Cats have to run from one corner to another without getting hit by the ball.
  • They can go any direction including diagonal as long as they do not get hit.
  • Any player hit by the ball is out.
  • If you have a large group you can have several balls and a couple throwers.

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FEATHER BLOW
Purchase feathers at a local craft store.
Give each child a feather.
When you say, "GO!" the kids start blowing the feather in the air. Whoever can keep the feather in the air the longest (using only his/her breath) is the winner.
This game can also be played in teams.

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RUN RABBIT RUN
Half of the group are called foxes and the other half are named rabbits.
Rabbits are standing behind a line at one end of the play area. (home)
Foxes are scattered all over the gym.

  • Captain Rabbit leads his/her brood for a walk.
  • The leader of the foxes says : "Run Rabbit Run!"
  • All rabbits run trying to return to their home.
  • All TAGGED rabbits become foxes.
  • Continue until there are no "rabbits" left. 

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END DODGE BALL
Equipment: Sponge balls of various sizes
A ball is thrown in to start the game.
The teams (each on their own side of line) throw two or three balls, back and forth, trying to hit the opposite team.
As players are hit, they must go stand behind the opposing team on the back line so that they can RETRIEVE the balls AND THROW THEM BACK to their team.

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SQUAT, SQUAT, SCAT!
This is a 'version" of Duck, Duck, Goose.

  • While young children think "Duck, Duck, Goose" is fun---those over grade 2 may take offense with playing a "Baby" Game...that's when you try the game with a "Themed" title or this type of game name!
  • It's still Duck, Duck, Goose---but with a different name!
  • Have children sit in a circle... 
  • One person is "It".
  • This person runs around the circle touching the players on the back saying: "Squat, squat, squat"

When "It" touches a player and says "Scat", that person must chase "It" around the circle.
"Scat" tries to tag "It" before he/she gets home.

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STUCK IN THE MUD
A basic tag game.
If children are tagged, they must stand with their legs apart (stuck in
the mud) until someone crawls through and releases them.

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WHO HAS THE CHICKEN?
1.  You have two or more taggers, and two youth with rubber chickens.
2.  The taggers run and tag children to freeze them.
3.  The students with the rubber chickens can run around and unfreeze the "frozen."
4.  After a few minutes switch the taggers and the chickens.

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FIND YOUR FRIEND
Make sure there are no trip hazards.
Blindfold all children, set them a distance apart from each other, spin them gently/slowly around, and then turn them loose.
They must find their friends, link arms, and then find the rest of their friends.
They will have a good time shuffling around and bumping into each other!
(Be sure an adult is present at all times)

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LIMBO
Two players hold a soft rope or stick 3' to 4' long. Players take turns leaning backward and shuffling under the rope. Lower the rope after each round. (Be sure to play Limbo music!)

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CAT AND MOUSE
Have all players join hands in a circle. Choose a 'Cat' and a 'Mouse'.
The cat chases the mouse around and through the circle.
Players help the mouse but not the cat. When Mouse is caught a new Cat and Mouse are chosen.

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SET A "BOOK" of RECORDS
(Your own Guinness Book of Records!!!)
This one is a surefire winner! Keep your own program, classroom, or family book of records; have kids/players try to set records for things such as:

  • Most jumping jacks
  • Jumps in jump roping
  • Running laps in gym
  • Running laps outside
  • Most crafts made for the month or year
  • Longest handstand
  • Most books read, puzzles completed, etc.
  • Anything else that you can think of.
  • When they start to utter that they are bored give them a new record to break and a fun reward if they set a new record! Be sure to make this a yearly ongoing event---NEW records can be set each year!!! 

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TIPS

TIP: CONSIDERING HOCKEY? TRY THIS TO LEARN…
For a safer version:

Instead of using actual Hockey sticks, use foam noodles that are for swimming. Instead of a puck, use a waffle ball. If you don't have small goals, use two cones at each end.

Tape or mark off the boundaries. Make sure to enforce a "no high sticking" rule before the game begins. This will ensure that the teams aren't whacking each other with the noodles. Have a penalty box for the rule-breakers. You can make a time limit, or a goal limit. If you have many kids be sure to switch out players…

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TIP: Do you remember your favorite game as a child?
Teach that game to your kids!!! Celebrate and have fun keeping the old games alive!

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TIP: TEACHING JUMPING JACKS
Saw this quite awhile back ...don't remember where...but it works!
When the kids' legs are out and hands clapped above the head, this is called "teepee" and when the kids' legs are together and hands at their sides, it's "pencil."
They can learn this skill slowly as they shout "teepee... pencil...teepee...pencil."

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GAME FUN FACT :
'Simon Says' started as a game in New York State's Catskill Mountains during its heyday as a resort area. It was designed to get older women up and exercising.

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Check out the Indoor or Outdoor Walking Club! A great idea!

Looking for more games??? Just click on your interest!

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