Getting your muscles warm before a stretch or a workout is important for injury prevention, even for children. Of course, you could do a quick light run or simple jumps, anything to get the heart rate up, but that is not as fun as it could be. Turning a warmup into a game is both productive and fun. Win win!
Ten Fun Warm Up Games You Can Do at Home
- Sleeping Baby – Participants run, skip, gallop, bunny hop, etc. in a circle around the play area. When the leader yells “Sleeping Baby” the participants drop to the floor and pretend to be sleeping. Bonus points for dramatic snoring!
- Relay Races – Relay races allow for so much flexibility and creativity. Participants split into two teams. I like to mark each ends of the race with a hoop and a cone. I also require participants to gently high-five the next person in line before they can go. As with Sleeping Baby, participants can vary their actions such as running, hopping on one foot, bear or crab walking, etc. The next part is where you can get creative. Participants can run down to the end of the race and put a piece in a Connect 4 game, color a shape, take a scoop and put together a snack mix, try to balance an egg on a spoon, and so many more.
- Color Game – This game is especially fun for the younger crowd. The leader calls out a color and a body part. Participants must find an object that is the color the leader called and touch it with the body part that was called. As the participants start to get the hang of the game the leader can call out sillier and more challenging body parts. To make the game more challenging for older children the leader can call out a body position to do on the called color such as passé, relevé, hollow body, lock, or mad cat.
- Olympic Charades – Played like traditional charades. Split participants into two teams. One person from each team draws a paper with an Olympic sport written on it. The participant then acts out the sport while their teammates try to guess.
- Freeze Dance – This is a great game to really get kids moving and burn some energy. Turn some high energy music on and have kids dance. When the music is paused the kids must freeze. You can play no-outs, or if you want more of a challenge, you can call anyone caught moving “out.”
- Add On – This game has an added mental element. Line participants up. The first participant goes into the play area and does one action such as a jump. The next participant enters the play area and does the action the previous participant did and then adds another on. Repeat with each participant. Participants must remember what the players in front of them did. The first person to mix up the sequence signals the end of the game.
- Builders and Destroyers – Have all participants make stacks of three blocks all around the area of play. Split participants into two groups – builders and destroyers. When the leader starts the game, the destroyers run around the play area knocking down the towers with their hands only. No kicking allowed. Builders run around re-stacking the towers. Each game lasts a minute or two. Then have all participants re-stack all towers and switch teams.
- “If” Game – Line participants up along one side of play area. Leader calls out an if statement such as, “If your favorite color is pink, run to the other side.” Continue and see how much you get to know all the participants. Some other fun If statement ideas are favorite food, favorite school subject, favorite sport, and favorite sports team.
- Red Light, Green Light – A classic. Line participants up along one side of play area. Leader calls out “green light” and all participants run, skip, hop, etc. towards the other side of the play area. All participants must freeze when leader calls out “red light.” First one to the other side wins.
- Frisbee/Paper Plate Skating – Give each participant a pair of frisbees or paper plates to stand on. Participants skate around the play area like an ice skater. Leader can call out different actions such as spin, leap, or jump. This game can also be played as a freeze game with music.
Bonus Game – What’s the Time Mr. Wolf? – Participants line up along one side of the play area. One player, Mr. Wolf, stands at the other end of the play area with their back turned. The group of players at the other end call out “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?” Mr. Wolf calls out a time such as “three o’clock.” Participants take that many steps towards Mr. Wolf. Game play repeats until Mr. Wolf responds with “dinner time!” Mr. Wolf then turns and chases after the other players. The first player tagged is the next Mr. Wolf.
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