Gym games can promote physical fitness, improve coordination and enhance the flexibility and strength of children. Additionally, most children enjoy competition and playing games helps them learn the value of good sportsmanship. There are many games that require minimal equipment and can be used indoors and outdoors for elementary age gym classes.
Pool Noodle Tag
This game can be played by any age elementary student. Give three students a pool noodle. Students with the noodles are "It" and may tag other students. When a student is tagged, he must do five jumping jacks before he can rejoin the game and run away from the taggers. This game can be tiring for younger age groups, so set up a mat that is a five-second base. This game can be played to music. Stop the music every 45 seconds so that new students can become taggers. You can also rotate the exercises periodically when new taggers are selected, but since there are a lot of children running around it is preferable to do exercises that involve standing up. Some ideas are toe touches, windmills and jumping jacks.
Less is More
The class is divided into two volleyball teams. Each team member receives a soft foam ball. Players throw the balls to the other side and must catch them. Once a ball lands on the ground it is dead. Balls are thrown until two or three balls are left. The team with the most balls on their side of the net wins. It is recommended that this game have time outs to move balls out of the way when they hit the ground. Modify this game for younger grades with mini nets and smaller teams of five.
Relay races provide fun competition for any elementary grade level because it is easy to modify the races for different ages. Older children can perform races a greater distance apart than younger ones. Additionally relay races are perfect for indoors or outside. Divide the children so that there are four or six groups of the same number. Each team is composed of two groups who line up across from each other. One at a time, racers must reach the opposite side before the next person in the line across from them can go. Each race can require participants to get to the other side in a different manner. Some ideas include a crab walk, using a burlap sack, walking backwards, carrying an egg on a spoon and requiring participants to hop with their legs tied to a partner. Encourage children to sit down once they have participated so it is easy to identify the winner.