8 Health & Wellbeing Activities for the End of Term
As we near the end of another school year, it's time to consider everything we've learned along the way.
Don't worry, we promise it'll be lots of fun. If you like to move your body, eat fabulous foods and live your best life, learning about health and wellbeing is always fun! So, before they vanish for the summer, let's remind your pupils how exciting it is to live an active, healthy life.
Use our end of term activities to assess children's knowledge of healthy eating, physical activity, mindfulness, sports and more.
1. Supermarket Bingo
What You Need: a bag/bowl/hat, writing paper, DIY shopping lists, marker pens
How to Play: This activity requires a little preparation so get your DIY shopping lists ready before class. Each list should consist of a ten squared grid, with the name or image of a food item in each square (like a bingo card). Make sure to include a small number of clearly unhealthy items to test pupils' ability to recognise 'bad' foods. You'll also need an opaque bag or bowl filled with corresponding slips of paper.
As the teacher pulls food items from the bag, the pupils should cross off matching squares on their shopping list. When an unhealthy food is called and matched, the square can only be crossed off if the pupil calls out "Stop, drop, swap that unhealthy food!" Then, they must stand up and suggest a healthier alternative. If the teacher approves, they can put a cross through the square. The winner is the first to cross off their entire list.
2. Grow It and Sow It
What You Need: small plant pots, vegetable/fruit seeds, compost
How to Play: The final week of term is a great time to try all those messy, creative activities teachers secretly love (go on, admit it). For this one, you need to give each pupil a small pot, some compost and a fruit or vegetable seed of their (or your) choice. Some of the easiest plants to grow at home are wild strawberries, cherry tomatoes, radishes, lettuce and herbs like chives, basil and coriander.
The benefit of planting seeds at school (particularly in the final week of term) is pupils can take them home and continue to learn about them throughout the summer. Nothing helps children feel more invested in healthy foods than growing and tending to it themselves. Show them how to plant, cover, water and tend to the seed. They can even name their seed if they like!
1. Rock, Paper, Scissors (with a twist)
What You Need: just yourselves
How to Play: Before starting, make sure all pupils know how to play Rock, Paper Scissors. Then, explain your version is played with...the feet! To play rock, the feet stay solid and together like an unmoving stone. To play pape, the feet are stood apart. To play scissors, the feet are split (one back, one forward) in the shape of a pair of scissors.
Each turn begins with a 1, 2, 3 countdown. Instead of counting with their fists, pupils should jump three times. On the fourth jump, both children make their plays at the same time. Pupils play 'best out of three' with one classmate. Then, they swap and find a new challenger to compete against.
2. Animal Kingdom
What You Need: just yourselves
How to Play: This a simple, easy game that's great for harnessing (and dispelling) all of that excitable end of term energy. You can play it as a longer physical activity or in 1-2 minute bursts of movement before or after lessons. If you're tight on space, you may need to move it to the playground or sports hall. For longer games, consider making notes to keep track of who's had a turn.
The pupils begin to jog or walk briskly around the space. The teacher randomly calls out the names of individuals (or pairs). When called, the pupil must shout out the name of an animal. The rest of the class must then begin to move like that animal. If a pupil repeats an animal name, they must sit out until the next game is played. It will get harder the longer you play!
Mindfulness and Resilience
1. The Taxi Cab
What You Need: just yourselves
How to Play: This is a drama based game which requires pupils to demonstrate an understanding of different moods and emotions. In small groups (4-5), instruct pupils to order themselves from first to last. Number One will be the first to climb into their imaginary car. They are the driver and must start this 'car' and take it to meet its first passenger.
Each time a new passenger enters, they must state their name (think of something silly!) and describe their mood. For example, "I am Bear Bottom and I am confused because my dog ran away and I can't find him anywhere!" All of the passengers in the car must take on the mood and emotions of the character who has just joined the scene (happiness, confusion, anger, lovestruck, etc).
2. Breathing Buddies
What You Need: small lightweight items (stuffed toys/beanbags/pencil cases, etc).
How to Play: This is a fun twist on popular mindful breathing activities. The addition of an object is particularly helpful for Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils who may have trouble lying still and focusing without a visual point of reference. To start, each pupil takes a stuffed toy (or other lightweight object) and places it on their belly button while lying flat on the ground.
With the stuffed toy balanced on their bellies, take pupils through a variety of breathing exercises. Start at a normal pace, reminding them to take note of how they breathe. What does it feel like? Does focusing on our breath make us more or less relaxed? Why? Experiment with very fast breathing and, eventually, progress to very slow, deep breaths that allow the entire body to feel calm and still.
1. Hula Hoop Hoop-la
What You Need: hula hoops
How to Play: While not technically a sport, hula hooping requires a lot of coordination and agility. It's a great way for children to improve the fluidity of movement sequences. Plus, there's a long list of creative uses for the humble hula hoop. For example, younger, smaller children can use a hoop as a 'jump rope' by holding it at hip height and swinging it over their head.
When arranged outdoors, hula hoops also make great 'tyre runs.' Line 'em up in the playground and challenge pupils to complete timed runs. Or, turn them into an obstacle course; children can tunnel through, hop in and out, run circles around and play Battle Ship Tag (pupils can move but they can't leave their hoop) with the equipment.
2. Classroom Ping Pong
What You Need: ping pong/table tennis bats, ping pong balls
How to Play: Ping pong sharpens hand eye coordination, reflexes and concentration skills. It's also easy to set up in a classroom. First, push 2-3 tables together to form your ping pong court. The midway point where they join is the 'net' which separates the two halves of play. Depending on the size of your classroom, you may be able to play multiple games concurrently.
The first player to eleven points wins. A point is won by batting the ball into the opponent's half and preventing them from returning it. For instance, if a player bats the ball over the net and it isn't returned (the opponent misses, bats it off the table or cannot bat it back out of their half), a point is won. Remember, the ball must always bounce once before a player hits it.