Warm-up and cool-down activities

 

Traffic Lights

  • Students start by standing around the hall
  • You call out either ‘GREEN’, ‘AMBER’ or ‘RED’ at regular intervals
  • Each colour represents a different mode of travelling
  • For example, green = skipping, amber = gallop, red = stop and balance

 

North, South, East, West

  • You name each wall ‘north’, ‘south’ ‘east’ and ‘west’
  • When you call one of the above names, the students run (or other mode of travelling of your choice) to that side of the hall
  • Variation: the names refer to an aerobic exercise

 

Alphabet Positions

  • Students run around the hall at random (or other mode of travelling)
  • When you call out a letter of the alphabet, students make the shape of that letter
  • These can be made lying, standing, sitting or with a partner

 

Funny Walks

  • Turn on the music – students perform a funny or silly walk around the hall
  • When the music stops, students hold the position they are in
  • If a student moves, they perform a forfeit of your choice, e.g. 5 spotty dogs

 

I am a Star

  • Pick a student who then says “I am a star and I want to be …”, naming an animal
  • All other students move around, pretending to be that animal

 

Hokey Cokey Aerobics

  • Stand in a circle and sing (the actions are in italics):
  • “Put your right arm in” {extend elbow}
  • “Put your right arm out” {flex elbow}
  • “Put your right foot in and shake it all about” {perform arm curls}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself about” {do vertical jumps whilst turning in a circle}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • [Repeat for left arm]
  • “Put your right shoulder in” {flex elbow, and raise elbow forwards}
  • “Put your right shoulder out” {return elbow}
  • “Put your right shoulder in and shake it all about” {raise elbow forwards and back continuously}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself about” {hop on right front whilst turning in a circle}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • [Repeat for left shoulder]
  • “Put your whole head in” {slowly touch chin to chest}
  • “Put your right shoulder out” {slowly return head to starting position – do not hyperextend}
  • “Put your whole head in and shake it all about” {slowly move head from side to side}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself about” {jog in place whilst turning in a circle}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • “Put your backside in” {turn round, and jump in backwards}
  • “Put your backside out” {turn round, and jump out backwards}
  • “Put your backside in and shake it all about” {turn round and perform hip circles}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself about” {do leg curls whilst turning in a circle}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • “Put your right hip in” {side jump in}
  • “Put your right hip out” {side jump out}
  • “Put your right hip in and shake it all about” {jump side to side}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself about” {march in hands whilst turning in a circle}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • [Repeat for left hip]
  • “Put your right foot in” {lunge forward on right leg}
  • “Put your right foot out” {rear lunge}
  • “Put your right foot in and shake it all about” {lunge forward on right leg and pulse}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself around” {do jumping jacks whilst turning in a circle}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • [Repeat for left leg]
  • “Put your whole self in” {forward jump in}
  • “Put your whole self out” {backward jump out}
  • “Put your self in and shake it all about” {jump in and out}
  • “Do the Hokey Cokey and turn yourself about” {do leg squats}
  • “That’s what it’s all about” {join hands and sing chorus}
  • Variations: change the exercises; add body parts to move in and out; the children make up their own routines.

 

Bean Warm Up

  • Students perform a mode of travelling of your choice
  • When you call out one of the following bean names, they perform the associated actions
  • Running bean – they run around, changing directions at random (watch out for walls, equipment and other students)
  • Jumping bean – they jump up and down
  • Jelly bean – they wobble
  • Broad bean – they stretch up as high as they can
  • Baked bean – they curl up into a ball on the floor as tightly as possible

 

Human Knot

  • Everyone in the group huddles together in a big mass
  • Each student grasps hands with two other students
  • When this has been done, you shout “UNTIE THIS KNOT”
  • Students try to unravel the knot without letting go of each other’s hands

 

Simon Says

  • You call out a series of instructions such as “jump in the air”, “touch your nose on the floor”, “hop on the spot”, etc, which should only be carried out if you put “Simon says …” before the instruction
  • Otherwise, they continue with the activity they were doing before
  • If a student performs an action not prefixed by “Simon says …”, then they perform a forfeit of your choice

 

Mat Mania

  • Students work in pairs – 1 mat is given to each pair
  • Students skip (or mode of travelling of your choice) around the mat
  • When you call out “CHAIR”, “UP AND DOWN”, “SLEEPING LIONS”, or “BALANCE”, they perform the following actions
  • Chair = students sit back to back on the mat with straight legs
  • Up and down= students stand back to back and perform squats
  • Sleeping Lions = students lie down on the mat and pretend to be asleep (if part of the cool down)
  • Balance = students get into an unstable position and balance

 

Captain’s Coming

  • The students all stand facing you
  • You call out various commands which the students then perform the following actions to:
  • Double time = on the spot running
  • Hit the deck = get down to the ground (face down) as quickly as possible
  • On your feet = get back up again
  • Wave on portside = everyone runs to starboard (the right)
  • Wave on starboard = everyone runs to portside (the left)
  • Climb the rigging = climbing action
  • Scrub the deck = on hands and knees
  • Slap your knees = run on the spot, knees high, slap the knees as they rise
  • Captain’s coming = stand to attention and salute

 

Runaway Train

  • Scatter a few cones around the hall (no too close together)
  • You are the ‘engine’ and the students line up behind you, representing the carriages
  • The aim of this warm up activity is for the ‘engine’ to lead the ‘carriages’ around the hall, weaving in and out of the cones (the ‘stations). The students must keep one behind the other and close together during the journey
  • You begin by walking and gradually increase the pace up to a slow jog
  • Whilst the train is moving, students pump their arms forwards like pistons (thereby mobilising shoulders and elbows); when the train is reversing, they pump their arms backwards
  • You can stop intermittently at stations (cones) and perform various mobilising activities:
  • Window – students turn their heads from left to right (mobilising the neck) as if looking out of both windows. Continue for a few reps
  • All aboard – students lift their knees up to hip height (mobilising hips and knees) to symbolise climbing up into the carriage. Continue for a few reps
  • Luggage – students lean to the side as if picking up a suitcase and then stand up straight again, before repeating on the other side (mobilising the lower back). Continue for a few reps
  • Guard – students hold onto the waist of the student in front and turn their upper bodies to the right as if looking for the platform guard’s signal to go, before repeating the twist to the left (mobilising the middle spine). Continue for a few reps
  • Continue the slow jog, and once again, stop intermittently at the stations to perform the stretches
  • Continue moving after finishing the stretch, but now become a ‘runaway train’ by including short bursts of high speed work followed by a walk
  • This game can also be used for a cool down – starting with a jog and gradually slowing down to a walk. Stop at the stations to stretch
  • Variation 1: when students are familiar with this warm up, one of them can take on the role of the ‘engine’. You control the movements verbally
  • Variation 2: split the class into 2 trains which will have to avoid each other as they travel

 

Gears

  • Allocate different modes of travelling to the 5 gears of a car that get progressively harder
  • For example, gear 1 = marching
  • Gear 2 = skipping
  • Gear 3 = gallop
  • Gear 4 = sidestep
  • Gear 5 = power skipping
  • Reverse = jog backwards
  • Turbo = sprint
  • At the start of the warm up use only gears 1 and 2 and mobilise the shoulders, elbows and wrists while moving
  • Go into ‘neutral’ (students stand on the spot) and mobilise the neck, spine and hips
  • Start going up the gears up to gear 4 and change randomly between them
  • When the students are starting to feel warmer, go into ‘neutral’ and do some stretches
  • After the stretch, change between all possible gears