Tag games and relay races add running to the physical education curriculum, but they get boring over time. Finding new ways to integrate running into gym class keeps the class interesting and the kids moving. The students are more likely to take an interest in running when it is presented in an entertaining format.
The kids run in pairs for this gym running game. Cones define the running path for the kids. PE Central recommends setting up the cones in a large horseshoe shape in the gym, but any shape works, including a zigzag pattern down the gym length. Divide the class into two equal teams. One team lines up to the right of the cones and the other team lines up to the left of the cones. The first child from each line begins running along the cones. This isn't a competitive game. Instead, the partners are supposed to run side-by-side through the course. Leave some space between the pairs so the kids don't trip over one another. When the pairs reach the end of the cone path, they return to the end of the line to wait for their next turn.
Traveling By Foot
Your PE curriculum or state standards may require that the kids run a particular distance. To make running laps more interesting, Education World suggests adding a travel aspect to it. You'll need to know the distance the kids are running during the laps. The kids keep track of how many miles they run over the course of the week. The distance is marked on a map, starting with your hometown and heading toward a class-selected destination. This project works well in collaboration with the classroom teacher, as she may integrate it into her social studies curriculum. If the students run different distances during gym class, let each child select her own travel destination and keep track of her own progress.
Running plain laps gets boring, but adding different elements makes it more entertaining. You might start playing disco music periodically, allowing the kids to dance as they run laps as long as the music plays. For something different, have the kids run a lap as slow as they can without stopping. The goal is to cross the finish line last. Anyone who stops completely has to sprint to the finish line, ruining her chances of winning. Other ideas for making laps more interesting include dribbling a basketball as they run, weaving in and out of cones or jumping over beanbags as mini-hurdles.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.