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Games are an easy way to get kids excited to learn while reinforcing both academic skills and social/ life skills. By connecting academic standards to fun children’s games, they are gaining out-of-the classroom experiences with in-classroom teachings. Give these activities a try to boost bodies and brains.

PowerUp Fitness offers a variety of unique fitness programs! PowerUp programs are designed to provide children with the opportunity to become more active, physically and mentally. Learn more about us and our mission to PowerUp children's development with fitness and fun in our About Section!

Exercise Shipwreck

In the designated play area, point a spot out to the children for the front of the boat, back of the boat and sides of the boat. Once the children understand the commands for the different areas of the room, the game can begin.

Swab the Deck → Squat position

Walk the Plank → Hold plank position

Man Overboard → Balance on one leg, arms out

Dead bug → lie on back with arms and legs sticking straight up in the air

  • To add a little competition to the game, the children who complete any of the actions last are no longer considered crewmates, or ‘out’ for the next round.

  • In small spaces - have children skip or hop to “slow” the game down for safety.

PowerUp Academics: Interpret words and phrases, including technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Science Explorers

Pick a theme to have the participants move about, whether it is a Jungle, Desert, Mountain, Ocean, etc.

For the Jungle, children can be running either as themselves or pretend to be a jungle animal roaming the terrain. The instructor can take part in giving kids commands, like yelling out to jump over logs, duck under branches, tiptoe past snakes, and run away from tigers.

For the Ocean, children can swim like fishes. Some commands that can take place here are to gather into a school of fish, so the children could cluster themselves together, dive into the deep water, or maybe even set up mini sharks and minnows game.

By ‘traveling’ to the Mountains, the children can pretend to hike and climb uphill by leaning forward a little. They can be instructed to duck under cover because it started to rain, or pretend to take pictures at the top and maybe have their friends strike a pose for them.

PowerUp Academics: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

How these Two Games Incorporate Academics

Incorporating academics does not necessarily mean how many facts a child can memorize for an activity to be successful. There are many components to a child learning than just equations and computations. The Exercise Shipwreck incorporates children thinking fast in a higher stress situation, it teaches them how to deal with thinking faster and processing directions given from the instructor immediately and carrying them out. Have the children reflect on what they did well and what they could do better next time in order to be more efficient in playing the game.

The children’s exploration can involve meeting others, the instructor can gently push kids to do this by saying at the end of each set of directions they have to partner with someone and have them introduce themselves. The children can also act out animals in groups of people. For example, if the kids were in a group of three, they could collectively choose an animal and one person could act it out, one person could make the noise, and the last could explain the habitat. The game also makes them connect what they have learned about these different kinds of places and retrieve information about different animals to be able to play them out.


Download this printable pdf version of our PowerUp Teaching Social-Emotional Learning Skills with Physical Activity!

Did you enjoy these activities? Take a look at our activity bundles or even request sample lesson plans to learn more!

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


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