Creative Gym Games

by Laura Williams Google

About Laura Williams

Laura Williams has worked in recreation management since 2004. She holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science education from Texas State University, as well as a B.A. in exercise and sport science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.



The rising rate of childhood obesity has educators and policymakers considering new ways to keep kids active. According to Education News Colorado, practices such as using stability balls as chairs in the classroom, providing personal trainers for kids whose parents attend evening school-related meetings, and taking students on a once-daily outdoor run all provide opportunities for kids to get active outside of regularly scheduled physical education classes. Such creativity can stretch into regular gym class activities, incorporating fun and competitive games to keep kids engaged.

Pac Man Tag

The gym floor is covered in lines for basketball and volleyball, and sometimes has additional lines for badminton, Four-Square and other games. Incorporate all of those lines into a game of living Pac Man; Designate one or two students as taggers and instruct all of the students to spread out around the gym, starting on one of the lines. When the game starts, everyone must stay on the designated gym lines, trying to keep from being tagged. If a student gets tagged, they team up with the child who tagged them and help tag other kids. The last two students tagged start the next game as the taggers.

Parachute Twist

Using a large physical education parachute, spread the parachute out on the floor. Instruct the students to sit in a circle on the floor outside of the parachute, holding onto the parachute's edge. As the instructor, start by sitting in the center of the parachute. The children all stand up, and, gripping the parachute, walk in a clockwise direction while chanting a song, slowly twisting the parachute around you in the center. When the students have twisted the parachute as much as they can, you say, "On three, release me! One ... two ... three!" Hanging onto their edge of the parachute, the students run directly away from the center of the circle, causing you to spin around in the center. Choose a student to take the center position and switch places with that student.

Punk Rope

According to the American Council on Exercise, Punk Rope founder Tim Haft combines recess and boot camp to create a fun group-exercise class. The official program requires a seven-hour certification course, according to ACE, but there's no reason you can't start your own, simplified version. Outfit your students with jump ropes, and lead the class in several minutes of basic jumping routines. Then split the kids into groups and run relays. Add another few minutes of jump roping, followed by calisthenics. Add fast-paced music that keeps kids moving, timing the music changes to correspond with the activity changes.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or