Primary Schools

PE Games to Get Your Pupils Warmed Up for Sports!

Young Children Smiling and Jogging in Gym Class

To excel at competitive sports, children must first believe in their right to play. It's our responsibility as teachers, parents and industry leaders to dispel outdated notions about what it means to be 'sporty.' With confidence, support and the right movement skills, ALL young people can become accomplished athletes.

The best way to build confidence is with competence. Regardless of height, weight, strength or speed, there's a role in competitive sports for everyone. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history. Nobody beats him in the pool. Yet, it's roundly agreed he'd make a terrible rower. He doesn't have the right body type.

Competence creates confidence. And confident kids are not afraid to fail. They try more, pursue more and succeed more.

Try these fun PE warm up games to get even non-sporty kids excited about movement and competition:

1. Turtle Rescue

What You Need: Cones, Beanbags

How to Set Up: Use the cones to divide your playing area into three sections, with the largest in the middle. Scatter as many beanbags as possible in this section. If there isn't a minimum of two beanbags per child, add other small items (balls, rings, batons). The more objects, the better the game.

How to Play: Split your class into two teams. They must stand in opposing sections. These sections are The Sea. The middle section is The Beach. And the beanbags are freshly hatched turtles trying to make it to the water!

On GO, teams must run to the beach (middle section), pick up a 'turtle' and bring it back to the sea (their section). The turtles need to be placed, not dropped or thrown. After 2-3 minutes, the teacher shouts STOP. Everybody must drop their objects and stand still. The team with the most rescued turtles wins. 

Progression 1: When there are no turtles left on the beach, teams can poach them from the opposing section. Turtles may only be picked up from the ground. 

Progression 2: Add a movement rule, such as hopping, balancing, skipping, etc. 

2. Lions and Tigers

What You Need: Cones

How to Set Up: Use the cones to divide your playing area into two sections.

How to Play: Split your class into two teams: Lions and Tigers. They must stand in the middle of the playing area in pairs, with one child facing another child. The objective is to make it to the far end of the section without being eaten (tagged).

The teacher decides which team will run and which team will chase. Do this by shouting TIGERS or LIONS. At this shout, the named team must turn and run to safety. A runner can only be 'eaten' by the chaser they are paired with. Don't forget to switch the pairs around throughout the session.

Progression 1: The chasing team must use two hands to tag and catch their prey.

Progression 2: The running team tucks bibs or batons into the waistband of their shorts. The chasers must pull it out to tag and 'eat' their prey.

Progression 3: Have the teams start the game from different positions (on their bellies, standing on one leg, with a hand over their eyes).

3. Beeeeee Careful

What You Need: Cones

How to Set Up: Use the cones to mark out a small space in the playing area (approx. 2 metres across). This is the 'hospital' and a safe space.

How to Play: Pick two children to act as 'bumblebees.' For the rest, the goal is to move around the space without getting stung (tagged) by a bee. When a child gets stung, they must apply a 'bandaid.'  They do this by placing one hand on their tagged body part. They must keep moving without removing the band aid.

Children can only be stung twice (two hands, two band aids). At the third, they must visit the hospital Before they can leave, they have to complete a challenge (10 star jumps, hopping for 30 seconds, etc). Don't forget to assign new bumble bees each round.

Progression 1: Assign more than two bumblebees to do the chasing and tagging.

Progression 2: Add a movement rule such as hopping, skipping, galloping, etc.

4. Meteor Strike

What You Need: Cones, Softballs

How to Set Up: Use the cones to create a large circle within the playing area (approx. 15 metres across).

How to Play: Split your class into two teams. One team stands inside the circle. Give every child in the other team a softball. This team must not enter the circle. The softballs are 'meteors.' The team inside the circle must avoid getting hit by meteors.

On GO, the team outside the circle must throw their meteors at the opposing players. Teachers are advised to implement a 'below the waist' rule. Only strikes in this area count as hits. If players are hit, they must leave the circle. Any surviving players are the winners. Don't forget to swap the teams and give everybody a chance to throw the balls.

Progression 1: Add a strike rule (rolling the ball in, kicking the ball in, throwing left handed only, etc).

Progression 2: Give players on the outside of the circle two softballs each.

Progression 3: The players on the outside of the circle must throw with their eyes closed.

Amaven Healthy Schools: Don't forget, you have access to hundreds of PE lesson plans for Early Years, KS1 and KS2 classes. Just log in to your portal and click the Lesson Plans tab. 

To find out more please get in touch.


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