In learning, sometimes you just gotta move. These are games I have used in my classroom to teach academics and get my students moving. If you get the students to move, they will not only learn but also develop their visual, verbal, and vocal skills.
Materials: Circles with each letter of the alphabet and numbers 1–10, balls with various letters and numbers on them, and feet with letters and numbers on them.
Sight Word/Spelling Over and Under Relay
Have an equal set of teams and have each child form a line. They will take a beanbag and pass it over their head, saying and/or spelling each word to the next child, who will put it between their legs to be passed to the next child backwards. Chanting “over and under” may help younger children remember what to do. When all of the people have finished, they sit down. The first team done wins. More fun can be added to the game by additionally going to the left and right sides of the children as they pass the beanbag.
Skip Counting Eggs
Form children into teams. The children will stand a few feet apart and take turns throwing their beanbag to their partner while practicing counting by twos, fives, and tens. After each successful throw, the team will step one step back. The team that gets the farthest away, while still being able to catch the beanbag, wins. For a variation of the game, if the beanbag is thrown to the ground, the team has to start close to each other again.
Spelling Words Toss and Walk
Make a starting and ending line with chalk, a line, or cones. Teams will have an equal number of children and will walk from
the starting line to the ending line, tossing and walking and spelling as they go. When they get to the ending line, they can run back. The team that finishes first and sits down wins!
Start the music and have the children form a circle. Pass the beanbag as the music plays. When it stops, students stand in the
middle for one turn if they cannot answer the spelling, sight word, or math flashcard. To add more fun to the game, add another beanbag and have them go in the opposite direction.
Follow the Feet
Lay the mats on the floor in numerical order, leaving at least 10 feet between each. Tell children they are going to play “follow the leader.” The leader chooses how the group will move from mat to mat. For example, the leader might tell everyone to tiptoe from one to two then crawl from two to three, and so on. Have children say the numbers out loud. Play until each child has been the leader. Count the number of steps out loud from one to two, two to three, and so on. Lay the mats in random order. Time the students going in order with different movements, such as hopping and skipping.
Arrange the mats in a circle on the floor. Be sure to put them in numerical order. Play music as children walk around the circle, stepping on each mat. If you are playing with more than 10 children, walk in pairs. When you stop the music, tell the children to stop where they are. Have children identify the numbers they are on. Encourage them to say their numbers aloud. Play musical chairs. Start with one less mat than there are children and remove a mat each time the music stops. Change the tempo of the music for added fun. Place the even- or odd-numbered mats out and have the children run, skip, or hop from mat to mat as they count out loud.
Roll and Go
Tell the first child in line to roll the number die and name the number it lands on. Then tell the child to roll the activity die. The child does the activity on the die the same number of times shown on the number die. For example, if the child rolls a seven, the children clap seven times. Play until each child has had a turn. Have children form a circle and take turns rolling the dice, and after each roll, the entire group counts together as they do the activity. Have children roll the die only. Then ask them to count backward from ten to one as they do the activity.
Make a winding path through the room by placing the mats close to each other in alphabetical order. Then, invite students to take turns stepping from mat to mat as everyone slowly sings or chants the “Alphabet Song.” They can run, skip, jump, hop, and step. They can act like different animals, insects, famous stars, etc.
Place alphabet mats in random order and play music; have children slowly walk around the circle, stepping on each mat. When the music stops each child should stop on a stepping mat. Have children look at the mats they are standing on, then invite them to announce the letters and names of the objects that are on their mats. Very initial, medial, and final sounds––and name letters.
Choose several mats for letters your students are learning, and use them to make a circle, placing the letters in random order. Children stand around the outside of the mat circle. Invite one child to start walking around the circle as everyone claps and chants. Walk around the alphabet, walk all around, then stop on the letter. That makes the sound.
Choose several letters children are learning and place them in different corners or areas of the room. Then tell the children that one of the letters is the mystery letter and that you will give them clues to help figure out which one it is. Give a clue that could apply to many letters, such as the mystery letter is not “d.” Instruct the detectives to guess which letter is the mystery letter and then stand near the stepping mat. Continue giving clues, getting more specific each time, until all of the children have solved the mystery. Here are some examples of clues: The mystery letter has a curved line. This letter comes right before “H.” This letter makes the last sound you hear in the word “frog.” The words “goal,” “gift,” and “gum” all begin with this letter.
Use the mats to make a circle, placing the mat in alphabetical order. Invite children to stand on the mats. one child to a mat. Have the children say the letters on the mats, and then name the objects on them. Then have them switch spots with like items. Talk about what letters go before and after.
Have players form two to four teams of equal size and line up in columns. Use several mats to form a path going forward from the front of each team, and place them in random order. On your signal, the first child in each team should follow his team’s path, naming the letter on each mat as he or she steps on it. After he or she steps on the last mat, the child runs to the back of the team’s line. The other children on the teams follow in turn. The first team to have all children finish wins. Call out new actions during the relay such as hop, jump with one or two feet, walk sideways, and so on.
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