• Sarah Doyle

Building Character with Physical Activity

Fun Fitness Games with Social Emotional Learning Concepts

Physical activity naturally aligns with Social Emotional Learning concepts. At PowerUp, we call these Character Concepts! In today’s post, we’re breaking down one of our fitness games: Bop-It!

  • It’s tie to the character concept: Nonverbal and verbal cues/messages

  • How the objectives build on each other throughout PowerUp lessons and expected outcomes

  • This particular skill develops children’s abilities to pick up on body language cues and predict/anticipate with active listening.

Category: Navigating Social Relationships

Character Concept: Nonverbal and verbal cues/messages.

Game 2: Human Bop-It


How to Play: Participants follow the instructor’s cues to play the “Bop It” game, using their bodies to follow the instructions. Demonstrate and then call out the following commands. The instructor or student volunteer calls out the action. Pick up the pace of the calls as the game progresses.


Kick it - children kick in front of them (ensure they are in their own space first!).

Twist it – jump, twisting their bodies halfway around then back.

Spin it - children turn around.

Pull it - imagine they are pulling two levers down from above their heads to low squat.

Bop it - jump in the air.


For more examples of activities take a look at our PowerUp bundles or request PowerUp sample lesson plans to learn more!

Character Concept

Week 1: Identify verbal, physical, and situational cues in stories.

Use nonverbal cues to play the game and have them mimic the movements etc.


Week 2: Demonstrate an ability to listen to others (e.g., making eye contact, nodding, asking clarifying questions).

Play the normal game like normal but use bigger pauses between calls rather than speeding up rapidly. Give them a longer chance to listen & pay attention.


Week 3: Distinguish between nonverbal and verbal cues and messages.


Week 4: Analyze the alignment and non-alignment of verbal and non-verbal cues.

Have them play like normally but slip in verbal & nonverbal cues to learn the difference into one game so they must be alert.


Week 5: Identify and practice reflective listening skills through discussion and role-play.

As they play, have them think out loud and say “I like this one!” or “this one is difficult” to reflect on what they do and enjoy!

Download this printable version of our Building Character with Physical Activity

For 100’s of activities, games, and exercises that can be implemented virtually or with safe distancing, check out our PowerUp programs!

Want to see sample lesson plans or learn more? Request sample lessons here.








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PowerUp Fitness empowers youth through fitness, education, and fun. 

PowerUp Fitness provides easy-to-use physical activity programming for schools, before and after school, camps, youth organizations, childcare, and fitness centers.

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