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Move, Learn, Win: Afterschool Games that Boost Brains and Bodies

Math Relays and Teamwork Word Games - Try these two Academic activities and games that make learning fun!


Physical activity is crucial for elementary school students as it not only promotes overall health and fitness but also plays a pivotal role in their cognitive and emotional development. Engaging in regular physical activity enhances their motor skills, boosts self-esteem, and fosters a positive attitude towards exercise from a young age. When academic concepts are integrated into physical games, students not only stay physically active but also experience a holistic approach to learning, where knowledge is reinforced through movement, making the educational experience more engaging and effective.


Afterschool games, PE lesson ideas, and active classroom ideas to link Math and ELA to physical activities

Brain Boosting Games
Brain Boosting Games

 

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.

 

Improved Academic Outcomes

Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity in children is associated with improved academic performance, particularly in subjects like mathematics and reading comprehension. Engaging in physical activities enhances cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic success.


Enhance Brain Structure and Function

Research (1) using neuroimaging techniques, such as MRI scans, has demonstrated that physical activity leads to structural changes in the brain, especially in areas responsible for executive functions and learning. These changes include increased gray matter volume and improved connectivity between different brain regions, indicating that physical activity positively influences brain structure and function, thereby enhancing cognitive abilities in children.

(1) Erickson KI, Leckie RL, Weinstein AM. Physical activity, fitness, and gray matter volume. Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Sep;35 Suppl 2:S20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.03.034. Epub 2014 May 14. PMID: 24952993; PMCID: PMC4094356.


Get ready to play!


Activity 1: math motion - race to solve!

Math Motion Challenge: Race to Solve is an interactive and dynamic math-integrated physical activity game designed for elementary school students. In this game, students solve math problems to advance in a thrilling physical race, combining the excitement of movement with the engagement of mathematics.

  • Students form teams, and each team is given a specific theme or category (e.g., animals, emotions, fruits, historical figures).

  • Everyone on the team begins running in place, the first student stops running and shares a word related to the given theme and returns to running in place with the group.

  • Working a circle, the next student stops running, shares another relevant word, then runs again.

  • This continues, and each team aims to come up with as many words as possible within a set time limit.

Examples of Math Problems:

  • For Grade 1-2: Solve 5 + 3.

  • For Grade 3-4: Calculate 18 - 7.

  • For Grade 5-6: Determine 14 × 3.

  • For Grade 7-8: Solve 56 ÷ 8.


Playing "Math Motion Challenge: Race to Solve" offers several benefits:

  • Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Encourages students to think critically and solve math problems on the spot, improving their analytical skills.

  • Active Learning: Promotes physical activity, combating sedentary behavior, and contributing to overall health and fitness.

  • Increased Engagement: Integrates learning with movement, making the educational experience enjoyable and memorable.

  • Boosted Confidence: Success in solving problems and moving forward boosts students' confidence in their math abilities, encouraging a positive attitude toward learning.

  • By combining physical activity with mathematics, "Math Motion Challenge: Race to Solve" not only makes learning fun but also fosters a love for math while promoting a healthy, active lifestyle among students.


Activity 2: verbal velocity

Verbal Velocity: Relay of Words is an engaging ELA-integrated physical activity game designed to enhance vocabulary, language skills, and teamwork among elementary school students. In this game, students participate in a high-energy relay where they pass a ball and share words related to a specific theme or category.

  • Students form teams, and each team is given a specific theme or category (e.g., animals, emotions, fruits, historical figures).

  • Everyone on the team begins running in place, the first student stops running and shares a word related to the given theme and returns to running in place with the group.

  • Working a circle, the next student stops running, shares another relevant word, then runs again.

  • This continues, and each team aims to come up with as many words as possible within a set time limit.

Examples of Themes and Categories:

For Grade 1-2: Animals (cat, dog, bird, fish)

For Grade 3-4: Emotions (happy, sad, excited, scared)

For Grade 5-6: Fruits (apple, banana, orange, mango)

For Grade 7-8: Historical Figures (Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, Amelia Earhart)


Enhancements in Skills:

  • Vocabulary Expansion: Encourages students to explore a wide range of words related to the given theme, expanding their vocabulary.

  • Language Skills: Improves language fluency and articulation as students express words clearly and concisely.

  • Teamwork: Fosters collaboration as team members work together to brainstorm and share words, promoting a sense of unity and cooperation.

  • Effective Communication: Enhances communication skills by requiring students to convey ideas efficiently under time pressure.


Importance of Interactive Learning:

Verbal Velocity: Relay of Words exemplifies the significance of making learning interactive and enjoyable for children. By integrating language skills with physical play, this game not only reinforces academic concepts but also instills a passion for language and effective communication. Through fun and engaging activities like this, students develop a lifelong love for learning, ensuring a positive and impactful educational experience.




If you love these activities, try several of our math-focused activities here. Want to mix in more English Language Arts - see some of our favorite literacy activities here. Looking for more? The PowerUp Your School program offers over 300 math and ELA-integrated physical activities, requiring no equipment and perfect for any space, any place!


 

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 Games that Boost Body & Brain below.

Tips & Tricks - 2023 Oct Games that Boost Body & Brain
.pdf
Download PDF • 594KB

Games and activities to aligned with Math and English Language Arts
Brain Boosting Games

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




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