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The Power Of PLay: Fitness Games that Get Kids Talking

Teach communication & Teamwork with these two fun Fitness Games for Kids


In today's fast-paced world, where technology often replaces traditional playground time, educators and afterschool staff face the challenge of keeping physical activity both engaging and educational for children.


The power of play, particularly through fitness games, extends far beyond the physical benefits, offering an opportunity for developing critical life skills such as teamwork and communication. By incorporating games that require children to work together and communicate effectively, we can teach these essential skills in a fun, dynamic way. Two such games, "Mystery Maze" and "The Name Game" not only boost physical fitness but also emphasize the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication, problem-solving, and cooperation.


The PowerUp curriculum is here to revolutionize physical activity for after-school and PE programming. To get you started, let's check out two sample games that promise to turn your next session into an unforgettable learning adventure.



Ways to Add Math to Physical Education 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.

 

Here are two fun Fitness games that encourage communication and teamwork in pe and afterschool activities!


"Mystery Maze," an imaginative game requiring no equipment (like all of our PowerUp activities), encourages players to navigate an invisible maze, relying on memory and the instructions of teammates who have observed the correct path. This game uniquely combines physical activity with strategic thinking and memory recall. It requires students to actively listen, articulate their observations, and trust their peers' guidance. Such an environment fosters a sense of community and belonging among players, as they realize that their success depends not just on individual effort but on their ability to communicate and work as a cohesive unit. The game naturally promotes leadership skills, as some students will step forward to guide their peers through the maze, highlighting the importance of clear, effective communication and the trust that it builds within teams.


Mystery Maze

"Mystery Maze" is a game where students work together to navigate through an invisible maze on the playground or gym floor. The objective is to get from one side of the maze to the other, but the path is known only to the game leader (a teacher or designated student). Success requires players to communicate effectively and remember the correct path as they watch their teammates attempt to navigate the maze.


Objectives:

  • Enhance communication skills

  • Foster teamwork and cooperation

  • Develop memory and observational skills

Setup:

  • Define the Maze Area: Use a section of the playground or gym. Adjust based on available space and the number of participants. There's no need for physical barriers; the maze is imaginary. 

  • Create the Maze Path: The “Maze Maker” (game leader or instructor) imagines a simple path from one short side of the play space (the start) to the opposite side (the finish). This path should zigzag or turn at several points and include hopping sections, skipping, lunging sections, etc. The leader demonstrates the path one time only.  

  • Divide Players into Teams: If you have a large group, divide them into smaller teams (4-6 members per team is ideal). Teams take turns attempting to navigate the maze.

How to Play:

  • Attempt the Maze: One at a time, players from a team try to walk the path of the maze from start to finish. The game leader watches the player's steps and silently indicates if they step off the correct path.

  • Stepping Off Path: If a player steps off the correct path, the game leader says "buzz!" That player's turn ends, and they must go back to the start, remembering the correct path they took so far.

  • Teamwork: After watching their teammate, the next player in line attempts to start from the beginning, following the successful steps of their predecessor and trying to progress further.

  • Communication: Players who have already taken their turn are allowed to give verbal directions to their teammates to help guide them through the correct path.

  • Winning: The team that successfully gets all its members through the maze first, with the least number of mistakes, wins.

Variations for Replayability:

  • Blindfolded Navigation: Make the game more challenging by blindfolding players while they navigate. Teammates can give verbal commands to guide the blindfolded player.

  • Change the Maze: After each round, the game leader can change the path of the maze to keep the game interesting and challenging.

  • Silent Rounds: For an extra challenge, have rounds where players cannot speak to each other, promoting non-verbal communication skills.

"Mystery Maze" encourages kids to work together, communicate clearly, and remember sequences, making it a great game for both physical education and team-building exercises.


On the other hand, "The Name Game" is a game that strengthens social bonds and encourages non-verbal communication skills. In this activity, pairs of students spell each others names (or spelling and vocabulary words) as indicated by an assigned exercise or activity.  This game not only serves as a fun way to stay active but also teaches spelling children to be observant, empathetic, and responsive to non-verbal signals, fostering a deeper connection between partners. Both "Mystery Maze" and "The Name Game" demonstrate that fitness activities can be powerful platforms for teaching teamwork and communication. By integrating these games into physical education classes or afterschool programs, educators can provide students with valuable life skills, all while ensuring they remain active and engaged.


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 - russian twists

S - star jumps

T - arm circles

U - leg raises

V - situps

W - elbow to knee taps

X - pushups

Y - toe raises

Z - tuck jumps


Incorporating games like "Mystery Maze" and “The Name Game" into physical education and afterschool programs is a dynamic way to blend physical activity with the cultivation of essential character-building skills such as teamwork, communication, and empathy. These games exemplify how play can be both fun and instrumental in developing well-rounded, socially adept individuals.


Let's make the leap together – for more engaging, educational, and character-building play, it's time to PowerUp Your School!


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 Tips & Tricks below.

Tips & Tricks - 2024 Mar - The Power of Play
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.20MB

Add Math to Physical Education and Extended Learning



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




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