PE is often a student favorite, and for good reason. It gives the children a chance to get up, move around and have some fun. While many PE activities are better suited for outdoors, where there is more room to roam, being outdoors is not always practical. Resourceful teachers have a cache of lesson plans for PE activities that can be done indoors.
Start your indoor PE activities with a few warm-ups. Play a game of "Simon Says" or "Follow the Leader" with stretches, jumping jacks and other aerobic exercises. For a change of pace, let a student helper or leader lead the game. Tailor the warm-ups to the amount of space you have. If you're in a gym, for example, you can use this time to do some skill practice. Pair up the children, give each pair a basketball and have them do some dribbling and passing. This does not take up a lot of room, but you do need a hard floor.
There are plenty of group games that can be played indoors with the kids divided into teams. To play "smugglers," scatter hula hoops around the play area and divide the students into two groups. Give one group beanbags that match the colors of the hoops. When you blow a whistle, that group must put the beanbags in the hoops of matching colors, while the other group tries to move them to the wrong-colored hoops. After a set amount of time (around 3 minutes), blow the whistle again and see how many beanbags are in the correct hoops. If more beanbags are correctly placed than incorrectly placed, the "matching" team wins. If more are incorrectly placed, the "smugglers" win. Another easy team game is balloon volleyball. If you don't have a volleyball net, simply hang a string across the room. This game can even be played in a classroom, with the students sitting cross-legged on their desks, and is best for upper elementary- and middle-school-aged children. Use a balloon for the "volleyball," and if a student moves from his desk or allows the balloon to touch the floor, he is out. The last student still sitting on top of his desk wins the game.
Finish up your activities by using music as a way to cool the students down. Put in a CD and have the students do some free-form interpretive movement, or you can lead them in some stretches. Make sure that the music is appropriate for children. Classical music actually works very well and allows you to incorporate a mini-lesson on composers, musicians or musical styles and periods. Other ways to cool down include animal acting, which young children enjoy--have them mimic the movements of large, slow-moving animals to encourage them to stretch and settle down--and doing some simple deep breathing and stretching exercises.
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