Top 10 Games and Activities for Lower Elementary & Primary School Students
I recently put a post out on twitter asking teachers and educators, what activities they would like more of. As my blog is all about providing teachers will quality resources that they can use with their students, I have put together a rather large list today for lower elementary and primary school students. The list of ten activities has worked extremely well with the younger pupils I have taught over the years. Thanks for the tweet Brain Tass, hopefully you find the following resources useful and engaging for your students. If you are a teacher and you are not using twitter professionally, you are missing out. It is the ultimate professional development 24/7. Say hi and send me a tweet @DaleSidebottom.
Equipment: Cones to mark 10m x 10m playing square
Description: Start the game by getting the class to line up at one end of the playing area. The teacher picks one student to be ‘it’; they are called the ‘Man From Mars’. This student stands in the middle of the play area and starts as the Man from Mars. The students yell out “Man from Mars, Man from Mars, will you take us to the stars?” The student in the middle who is ‘it’ chooses a specific detail such as “Only if you have blonde hair.” Then the students with blonde hair get to run to the other end of the playing area. Then the Man from Mars yells “Go”, and the rest of the students run and try to avoid the Man from Mars from tagging them. Those caught help the Man from Mars and catch students in the next round. The winner is the last student left at the end.
Equipment: A pack of UNO cards or normal playing cards
Description: Students start the game in a large circle. Each student is then handed a UNO card. Once the students have their cards they need to wait until it is their turn and the entire class performs the movement for 10 seconds. Here are the class movements:
Yellow: Sit ups
Green: Jump and reach to the sky
If you do not have a set of UNO cards you can use normal playing cards instead. Instead of using colours, use the suits of the cards to allocate different movements.
Equipment: Beanbag or soft toy
Description: Students get into position to walk backwards, like a crab. Put a beanbag or soft toy on their stomachs. Students will have to keep their bottom up to stop the toy from falling off. As this activity is quite demanding, set a short distance of three metres for the students’ first attempt. As the students’ endurance increases, you can increase the distance they walk as crabs.
Description: Students line up at one end of the sports hall. The teacher decides on a pattern where students go over, under, around and through imaginary or real objects. The teacher then leads the line of students around the sports hall, following this pattern for at least 30 seconds each. The younger students love coming up with their own patterns for this game. It is also a great way to challenge the creative thinking of the students in your class.
Example 1 – (Sport) Over a rugby tackle, under a cricket bat, around a netball post and through the PE storeroom.
Example 2 – (Geography) Over a turtle, under a big dog, around the elephant and through a giraffe’s legs.
Over – Steep mountain, Atlantic Ocean, wiggly bridge, steep hill or thorny bush
Under – Tunnel, subway, underground, waterfall or limbo stick
Around – A round rock, student’s desk/chair, class bin or the entire school
Through – A hula hoop, a hole in the wall, a long tunnel, a window or a haunted house
Once the students have played the game, ask them to use their imagination and make up different journeys. Your students will love the freedom to plan their own adventures.
Equipment: Cones to make a 20m straight line
Description: Start the game with the class lining up in a straight line on one side of the line of cones. If you are playing the game inside and have lines on the ground you can use one of these instead. The game is simple; the class all starts on one side of the cones, which is called ‘out of the water’. On the other side of the cones is called ‘in the water’. The teacher then starts by saying one or the other. If the teacher says “In the water”, the class jumps over the cones. If the teacher says “Out of the water”, the class jumps back out of the water. The game gets tricky when the teacher starts saying both instructions quite fast. Students are eliminated and become judges if they do the wrong movement, or if they are too slow to react to the instruction from the teacher. The last student left is the winner. This is a great game for students of all ages; it is a fun, fast-paced warm-up activity.
Equipment: Cones equal to the number of students
Description: Start by splitting students into two even teams. Each student is given a cone and they must place it in their area (the end goal thirds) in either a dish (narrow end on the ground) or a dome (wide part of the cone on the ground). The aim of the game is to turn as many of the opposition’s cones to your own designated cone position (a dish or dome) and to keep your cones in the correct position (a dish or dome). Cones cannot be protected. Students cannot stay in one area; for example, if they change a cone in their area the next cone they change must be in the other team’s area (alternating areas each time a cone is flipped). To determine a winner the number of dishes and domes are counted.
Equipment: Cones to mark a 10m x 10m playing area and colour bands for the two taggers
Description: Start the game by choosing two students to be the taggers, who will then be known as the bad guys. Give them names such as Cat Woman, The Joker or Penguin like in the movies. Next choose a student to be Batman or Batgirl; this needs to be done secretly so the taggers don’t know who this student is. This student will secretly unfreeze tagged students. The two taggers who are the bad guys have two jobs: to tag as many students as they can in two minutes and to find out who is unfreezing students. Challenge the students to come up with tactics to make it hard for the bad guys to find out who the unfreezer is at the end of the two-minute game.
Description: This is a great game to improve listening skills. Students will have to listen very carefully.
On GO – children must stop still.
On STOP – children must move around the space either walking or running.
On UP – children must sit or lay down.
On DOWN – children must stretch up to the ceiling.
To start the game, it might be a good idea to practice before you start. This activity is great as it can be played in most environments, and is very good to improve concentration and listening skills of younger students. Teacher can catch students ‘out’ if they perform the wrong movements. This is only if you want to make it an elimination or challenge activity.
Description: Students follow commands as follows:
Skirt – Children sit on floor with legs stretched out wide.
Trousers – Children sit on floor with legs outstretched together.
Shorts – Children sit on floor hugging legs into stomach.
Dress – Children stand up with legs outstretched.
Washing machine – Jump up and down on the spot.
Spin Dryer – Spin around on the spot.
Once students have mastered the washing machine game, see if they can create another theme for the same game. For example, ‘The Motorcar’, making movements for all different functions that a car performs. This is a great chance for students to be creative and come up with new movements as a class.
Equipment: Colour bands and cones to mark a 10m x 10m playing area
Description: The teacher picks one student to be the shepherd. The shepherd places a colour band on and is the tagger for the game. The rest of the students are called sheep. If the shepherd tags a sheep then they are ‘it’ and become shepherds as well. The sheep can fall to the ground to avoid being tagged for up to five seconds. As long as they are on the ground, they are safe from the shepherds. The sheep can’t fall to the ground unless the shepherd is two metres away or closer. The last sheep left is the winner. This is a great game for students of all ages.