In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about exercise. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Exercise topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Exercise
Creative Play Day
If possible, organize a school-wide or class Creative Play Day and schedule fun physical activities for your students. You may wish to hold a jump-roping contest, a ring toss, a sprint, or a potato-sack or leap-frog race. Choose diverse activities that appeal to different children so everyone can participate and have fun. Children who might normally shun sports may become engaged if they are encouraged to “invent” their own games in advance to teach other children on Play Day. Throughout the Play Day, organize periods of rest where students can take breaks in the shade and drink water. You can use this opportunity to teach and review the benefits of exercise and discuss the functions of different body parts and body systems. You may want to bring in a coach, physical education teacher, physical therapist, doctor, or any exercise instructor to talk to your students.
Playing “Simon Says” is a great way to get your students to exercise without even knowing it. The game is perfect to get your kids exercising during rainy or snowy days. Choose small physical actions for the game, such as hopping on one foot, jumping jacks, running in place, arm circles, lunges, and squats. You can also use this opportunity to teach different body parts by giving commands like “Simon says point to your heart.”
Have your students measure their heart rates. Show how to find the pulse on their wrist or on the side of their throats. Time a minute for them while they practice counting. Older students can count by fives, or take their pulse for ten seconds and then multiply by six, etc. Record their heart rates on a chart or graph. Then lead the students in a physical activity, such as jumping jacks, running in place, or hopping. Have students measure their heart rate again and write their findings on the chart. Hold a discussion with the class: How did their heart rates change? Do they feel their hearts pounding harder or faster? How much faster did their hearts beat? How do you think exercise strengthens the heart?
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Exercise
Schedule times during each week when the entire family can exercise together and have fun. Brainstorm different physical activities or exercises your child would like to try or do. Many public parks have special fitness programs that are free and fun for the whole family. Investigate different options together and establish an exercise/play schedule. You can ride bikes, play a game of basketball or catch, jump rope together, or learn how to roller-skate or skateboard together. Exercise and fitness should be a part of your weekly routine.
If possible, organize an Olympics with the families on your street or neighborhood. You may wish to close off the street temporarily if possible or hold the games at a park. Have your child create invitations for the event and send them to neighbors, friends, and family members. The invitation should include location, times, the different kinds of games, and information about exercise. You can model the games from the actual Olympics, make up your own games, or use childhood classics such as “Capture the Flag.”