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Fit to Communicate: How Fitness Games Help Kids Build Confidence and Social-Emotional Skills

Fun skill-building games for before and afterschool, PE, and youth organizations

In today's world, it's more important than ever for kids to have strong confidence and social-emotional skills. These skills help kids succeed in school, make friends, and navigate the challenges of life.

One way to help kids develop these skills is through fitness games. Fitness games are a fun and engaging way for kids to get active, and they can also help kids build confidence and social-emotional skills in a number of ways. To build communication skills - try these two games in your before or afterschool program, summer camp, or next PE class.

Fitness Games that Build Confidence and Communication Skills
Fitness Games that Build Confidence and Communication Skills


PowerUp Fitness offers evidence based-physical activity programs for before & afterschool, PE, summer camps and more! PowerUp programs are designed to provide children with the opportunity to become more active, physically and mentally. Use our bundle finder to find the best PowerUp bundle for your organization.

How Fitness Games Can Help Build Confidence

One of the best ways that active games can help kids build confidence is by giving them a sense of accomplishment. When kids play fitness games and achieve their goals, it helps them feel good about themselves and their abilities. This can lead to a more positive self-image and increased confidence.

In addition, fitness games can help kids learn how to set and achieve goals. This is an important life skill that can help kids succeed in all areas of their lives. When kids learn how to set goals and work towards them, they develop a sense of self-efficacy, which is the belief that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Finally, active games can help kids learn how to deal with challenges and setbacks. When kids face challenges, they learn how to persevere and overcome them. This can help them develop resilience, another important life skill.

Ready to Try a Few?

The Name Game

Each letter represents a different exercise! Ask participants to find a partner. Then, participants spell out each partner’s name and do the corresponding exercise for each letter. Do 5 repetitions or hold for 10 seconds depending on the exercise. Complete 2 to 3 rounds with a new partner each round!

A - jumping jacks

B - pushups

C - situps

D - tuck jumps

E - jog with high knees

F - calf raises

G - squat jumps

H - squats

I - one-foot hops

J - jog in place

K - skip

L - lunges

M - mountain climbers

N- crab dips

O - leg raises

P - plank

Q - burpees

R - reach through

S - star jumps

T - arm circles

U - leg raises

V - situps

W - elbow to knee taps

X - pushups

Y - toe raises

Z - tuck jumps


Bop-It aligns with English Language Arts Standards about interpreting words, phrases, and figurative meaning with movement. All important communication skills! Participants follow the instructor’s cues to play “Bop It”, using their bodies to follow the instructions. First, demonstrate the movement for each command. To play - call out the commands in random order at varying speed. Play several rounds with different communication styles: call only, action only, call+action. Switch it up - Ask participants to play in small groups, rotating through who is the “caller” and communication styles.

Kick it - kick out in front (ensure they are in their own space first!)

Twist it – jump, twisting halfway around then twist back to front

Spin it - turn all the way around

Pull it - reach up above heads and then “pull” down into a low squat.

Bop it - jump up in the air

How Fitness Games Can Help Build Social-Emotional Skills

In addition to helping kids build confidence, fitness games can also help kids build social-emotional skills. These skills include things like communication empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Active games can help kids develop empathy by requiring them to work together with others to achieve a common goal. For example, in a team-based fitness game, kids must learn to communicate effectively and support each other in order to succeed.

Cooperation is the ability to work together with others towards a common goal. Fitness games in afterschool programs and PE classes can help kids develop cooperation by requiring them to work together as a team. For example, in a game that involves completing an obstacle course, kids must learn to work together to overcome the challenges of the course.

Problem-solving is the ability to identify and solve problems. Group games in a before and afterschool setting can help kids develop problem-solving skills by requiring them to think critically and creatively. For example, in a fitness game that involves completing a team relay game without using any words, kids must use their problem-solving skills to communicate in other ways.

Fitness games are a fun and engaging way for kids to get active, and they can also help kids build confidence and social-emotional skills in a number of ways. If you're looking for a way to help your kids develop these important skills, consider incorporating fitness games into the before and afterschool program, in physical education classes, or at summer camp!

Here are some additional tips for using fitness games to help kids build confidence and social-emotional skills:

  • Choose games that are appropriate for your students’ age and skill level.

  • Make sure the games are fun and engaging.

  • Encourage participants to set goals and work towards them.

  • Help your students deal with challenges and setbacks in a positive way.

  • Praise everyones’ efforts, even if they don't win.

By following these tips, you can help your before and afterschool participants, summer campers, or classroom students develop the confidence and social-emotional skills they need to succeed!


Did you enjoy these activities? For 100’s of activities, games, and exercises aligned with state and national standards, shop our PowerUp programs!


Download the printable pdf version of PowerUp's Summer Camp Connections below.

Tips & Tricks - 2023 July Fit to Communicate
Download PDF • 1.93MB

Fit to Communicate: Name Game and Bop-It
Fit to Communicate: Name Game and Bop-It

PowerUp Fitness is an Advocate Member of the National Afterschool Association and a proud partner of Active Schools.


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