School is the perfect time to teach children the joys of movement.
By making exercise fun, we can encourage children to work on their fitness and enjoy themselves at the same time.
If you’re looking for ways to engage your students in gym class, we’ve got you covered.
Below are 34 of our favorite ever gym games for kids. And the good news is, they’re simple to understand!
Let’s hop to it!
Dodgeball is a classic gym game involving players who are split into two teams.
They then try to throw balls at each other while avoiding being hit themselves.
It’s a great way for kids to practice their dodging and aiming skills, and it’s a game that can be enjoyed by students of all ages.
2. Relay Races
This gym game is another classic and encourages some healthy competition.
Split the kids into teams and get them to take turns in their team to run, hop, skip, or use some form of movement to get to a specific point and then return, passing the baton to the next member.
You can start with a simple relay and add more elements to keep the students engaged.
3. Parachute Play
This gym game is a firm favorite with smaller children.
Using a large parachute, children can hold onto the edges and move it up and down to create waves.
They can also take turns running underneath it or place lightweight balls on top to see them bounce around.
4. Obstacle Course
Set up various obstacles like cones, mats, hoops, and tunnels.
Children can run, crawl, jump, and maneuver their way through the course.
This helps in enhancing their motor skills and coordination.
5. Freeze Dance
Play some music and let the children dance freely.
When the music stops, they must freeze in place until the music starts again.
This game is not only fun but also helps to improve their listening skills.
6. Musical Hoops
This gym game is similar to musical chairs, but instead of seats, you’re going to lay out hoops on the ground.
As the music plays, children move around. When the music stops, they must find a hoop to stand in.
Gradually remove hoops to increase the challenge and find a winner.
7. Tag Variations
There are various versions of tag you can play with your class.
You can try versions such as “Freeze Tag” where players must freeze when tagged, or “Shadow Tag” where players try to step on each other’s shadows.
Changing the rules of the game will keep everyone engaged.
8. Basketball Shooting Practice
Set up hoops at different heights and distances around the gym.
Give kids balls and let them practice their shooting skills.
This can be made competitive by setting up timed challenges or point-based scoring.
9. Rope Climbing
If the gym has climbing ropes, your students can practice their upper body strength by trying to climb as high as they can.
Ensure there’s a soft mat below for safety.
10. Balance Beam
Allow your class to take turns walking on a low balance beam to practice their balance and coordination.
They can progress to trying different movements like hopping or walking backward.
11. Capture The Flag
Divide your students into two teams, each with a flag placed at their team’s end of the gym.
The aim of the gamel is to capture the opposing team’s flag without being tagged and return it to their side.
This is a great test of teamwork.
12. Hula Hoop Pass
For this gym game, children stand in a circle holding hands.
They have to pass a hula hoop around the circle without breaking the handhold.
They’ll need to twist and turn to make this happen!
13. Four Corners
Assign a number from 1 to 4 to each corner of the gym.
One child closes their eyes and counts while the others quietly choose a corner to stand in.
The counter calls out a number, and the kids in that corner are out.
14. Sharks And Minnows
For this exciting gym game, one child is the shark, while the rest are minnows.
The goal for the minnows is to run from one side of the gym to the other without being tagged by the shark.
If they’re tagged, they become sharks.
15. Seaweed Tag
This game is similar to Sharks and Minnows, but when a minnow is tagged, they become seaweed and must stand in place with their arms waving – which creates a lot of laughter.
They can tag other minnows as they pass, turning them into more seaweed.
16. Simon Says
This is a classic game that your students are sure to be familiar with.
This game involves one child playing as Simon, who gives commands like “Simon says jump” or “Simon says touch your toes”.
Players must only follow the command if it starts with “Simon says”.
If Simon gives a command without saying “Simon says” first, anyone who follows that command is out.
17. Crab Soccer
This gym game is a real scream that your students will love.
For this, kids walk on their hands and feet with their bellies facing up, resembling crabs.
Use a soft ball, and the aim is to score goals by pushing the ball using their feet or head.
18. Tunnel Tag
When a child is tagged, they stand with their legs apart, forming a tunnel. They remain in this position until another player crawls through their legs to free them.
19. Bean Bag Toss
Set up different targets (like buckets or hoops) at varying distances and assign point values to each.
Then, allow your students to take turns tossing bean bags, aiming to get them into the targets.
20. Human Knot
Human knot is a great team-building exercise!
Children stand in a circle and reach out to hold hands with two people across from them.
The challenge is to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands.
21. Blindfold Obstacle Course
Create a simple obstacle course in the gym. One child is blindfolded and must navigate through the course with the guidance of their teammates’ verbal instructions.
This is great for testing their communication skills.
22. Red Light, Green Light
One child is the “stoplight” and stands at one end of the gym to play this game, and the rest line up at the other end.
When the stoplight shouts “green light”, kids move forward. On “red light”, they must freeze.
The goal is to reach the stoplight without moving during a red light.
23. Balloon Volleyball
Using a net or a rope, divide the gym into two sides.
Kids hit a balloon back and forth, trying not to let it touch the ground on their side.
It’s similar to regular volleyball but is slower and safer for younger kids.
24. Steal The Bacon
Assign each child a number and have them stand in two lines facing each other.
Place an object (the “bacon”) in the center, call out a number, and the child with that number from each team tries to grab the bacon and return to their side without being tagged by their opponent.
25. Island Hop
Scatter mats or large floor markers throughout the gym – these are the “islands”.
Your students must then hop from island to island without touching the floor.
Remove islands progressively to increase the challenge.
26. Cross The River
Using two ropes, create a wide “river” on the gym floor.
Provide children with “stepping stones” (like small mats or flat cones).
They must work as a team to use the stepping stones to cross the river without touching the floor.
27. Traffic Cop
To play this gym game, one child is the “traffic cop” and directs the others to move as different types of vehicles (e.g., fast car, slow-moving tractor, bicycle).
When the cop yells “red light”, everyone freezes.
28. Bumper Cars
Each child stands on a large square mat and holds it around their waist.
The aim is to “bump” others out of a designated area without stepping off their own mat.
29. Pass The Ball
Your students need to form a circle and pass a ball around while music plays.
When the music stops, the child holding the ball is out. The last child remaining wins.
30. Bowling Relay
Set up pins (or empty bottles) at the end of the gym.
Divide kids into teams and have them take turns bowling using a softball.
The team to knock down the most pins in a set time wins.
31. Hot Potato
Have the children sit in a circle and pass a small object (the “hot potato”) around while music plays.
When the music stops, the holder of the hot potato is out.
Continue until only one child remains.
32. Animal Relay
In this game, kids imitate different animals (e.g., hopping like a frog, waddling like a duck) as they move from one end of the gym to the other in relay style.
33. Giant Twister
This is a gym-sized take on the classic board game.
Use colored spots or circles on the gym floor and call out commands like “left foot on red” or “right hand on blue”.
Kids must place the specified body part on the color while trying not to fall over.
34. Tug of War
This has been a popular game with kids and adults alike for decades.
Using a sturdy rope, divide the kids into two teams. Each team tries to pull the other past a marked line.
There are so many wonderful gym games for kids, and we’ve included just a snapshot in the above list.
What are you waiting for? Get your class moving with one of these gym games.
Further reading: Awesome PE games to try.
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