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Fun games for Social Emotional Learning!

A graphic of smiling children with the caption 3 Games for Social Emotional Learning by PowerUp Fitness

PowerUp Fitness offers a variety of unique fitness programs just for kids!  PowerUp programs are designed to provide children with the opportunity to become more active, physically and mentally fit, while building the framework for development into healthy adolescents and active adults. Learn more about us and our mission to PowerUp children's development with fitness and fun in our About Section!

Social interaction and dynamic is an integral part of growing up in any child's life. At PowerUp Fitness, we tailor our activities to children K-8 to provide fun enjoyable movement while encouraging positive social intelligence and integrating academic standards.

Each of our physical activities is separated into one of three of our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) categories and today, we will be showing one from each category! These exercises will help children navigate Teamwork, Relationships & Emotions/Behavior, and were adapted from our traditional PowerUp Fitness activities aligned with academic standards!

In this blog, we'll walk through 3 of our many games that encourage fun social emotional learning while staying active. For more examples of activities take a look at our PowerUp bundles or request PowerUp sample lesson plans to learn more!

One of my favorite aspects about our programs and activities is that neither our PowerUp Your School nor PowerUp Peanuts programs require any equipment! Our warmups and games are great for any space and any place!

No equipment = significantly reduced germ transmission and no clean up!


1. Alphabet Exercises

Here is a picture of 3 children making silly faces

This fun game falls under our Emotions & Behavior category to help identify emotions!

Like our regular game, Alphabet Stretch, participants use your body to form each letter of the alphabet and them call out the letter.

To meet our SEL objectives, we substitute the alphabet for emotions! Act and call out different emotions, like in this photo to the right, then ask what letter it starts with!

To make it more interactive for older groups, have the children tie a movement with an emotion like happiness = dancing. To further scale this up, have children come up with their own emotions and movements and identify the emotion students are acting out.

2. Human Bop-It

This game focuses on Navigating Social Relationships to distinguish between nonverbal and verbal cues and messages.

Like our usual Bop-It game, when an instruction is called out, the children perform the movement it is tied with like the ones below. As they play, have the instructor or student volunteer call out an action and gradually pick up the pace of the calls.


Kick it = kick your foot

Twist it = jump and twist 180 & back

Spin it = spin 360

Pull-it = reach up & pull down

Bop-it = jump up

To meet our SEL Objectives, try integrating different types of cues across multiple rounds!

Here is a picture of a young boy jumping in the air like in the game described.

Round 1 - explicitly use verbal cues (no demonstrations)

Round 2 - use nonverbal cues only, demonstrate the movement as the cue and they must be attentive to mimic the movements.

*The instructor can make it extra challenging by doing half movements only

Round 3 - Mix cues, verbal and nonverbal so they have to be extremely alert.

*This round is especially suited for older children!

3. Cardio Freeze Tag

Last but certainly not least, Building Teamwork is an important aspect of growing up, so during this activity, children will identify ways to work together after being tagged.

Similar to traditional freeze tag, our PowerUp adaptation keeps children moving, so instead of being “frozen”, when tagged, children perform an exercise!

To meet SEL and academic objectives, add math or other problem solving into the mix. For example, when tagged, the children can solve the problem together (ex: 100 divided by 10) and do that many jumping jacks to unfreeze!

Here is a young boy and girl running like the boy is about to tag her in a game of Tag!

This version of Cardio Freeze Tag allows students to find ways to work together and help one another solve the math problem.

Virtual Version: Taggers call out the names of other players to “tag” them. Once tagged, the tagger and the player do the exercise together. Then the player becomes a new tagger and calls on someone else.

Socially Distanced: Play this game outside touch-free and step on players’ shadows!


We hope you love these games and try them out! We would love to see them in action!

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Instagram: @PowerUpFit


Here is an infographic of the 3 games Human Bop-It, Alphabet Exercises, and Cardio Freeze Tag in a pdf poster printable format with pink, green and blue.

Download this printable poster version of our Fun Games for Social Emotional Learning!

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


PowerUp Goes Virtual!

Here is a graphic advertising the PowerUp Premium Virtual Classes that families or organizations can stream from any where to stay active.
PowerUp Virtual Classes

Need 100% virtual resources? Turn on, Tune In, and PowerUp! Check out our PowerUp Premium Virtual Classes! Only $12.99/mo for an unlimited subscription or check out our System Access Bundles for Summer Programs, Before & After School, PE and more!

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