When the weather gets cold, or on days when weather is not favorable, kids will stay inside, but they still need to constructively burn up energy and get physical activity. Organize fun indoor activities that kids can do to develop things like team work and athletic ability. It is important to choose the right activity for a large group so that everyone has a chance to participate.
Dodgeball is one way to keep kids active indoors. Divide the kids into two teams and put them on opposite sides of the half court marker in the gym. You may use more than one ball, which players throw to hit players on the opposite team to get them out of the game. If a player on the opposite team catches the ball, however, the person who threw it is out. If any player is hit in the head, that hit does not count and the player who was hit remains in the game.
Kickball, which could burn up to 600 calories in an hour, allows kids to engage in physical activity while socializing. Split the kids into two equal teams. Since this game is set up similarly to baseball, there should be a player to pitch the ball, a player on each base, a shortstop and some outfielders. The offensive team will kick the ball after the pitch and attempt to run as many bases as possible. Their ultimate goal is eventually crossing home plate to score a point. If the ball is caught, either a runner is tagged out or the base is tagged before the runner reaches it. If either of these happen, the runner is out. You may switch the offense and defense after three outs or you may allow each player on the offensive team a chance to kick before you switch.
Relay races allow children to work as a team and have fun while doing it. Ideally, you would play this is a gym or hallway, where you can designate starting and stopping lines. Divide the students into small and equal teams. If some teams are not exactly equal, some students may have to go twice. Choose a student to be the leader, and have him or her stand at the other end of the gym or play area on the end line. To begin, the leader tells the others to crab walk, bear crawl, skip or run. The students make their way to the leader as quickly as they can while following the command. Then they turn around and make their way back to their team. They must tag the next person in line, who then makes their way to the leader. The leader can also say "freeze," at which point the kids have to stop where they are. Then the leader can change the command. The first complete team to get back to the starting line wins.
The objective of the game is to have the people playing “it” to tag and “freeze” those running around them. Players remain "frozen" until a person who is not “it” is able to tag them, at which point they can continue playing. Those playing “it” need to try and freeze all of those running around and once this happens, new people are chosen to play “it” and the game continues. With a large group, have two people be "it" and work together as a team. Add another fun element by allowing the players who are not "it" to unfreeze their frozen teammates by crawling in-between their legs.
- World Adult Kickball Association: Kicking Your Way to Good Health
- Dr. Karen Miller, Retired Ozark Public Schools (Physical Education), Ozark, Missouri,
- PBSKids.org: Zoom Games: Follow the Leader Relay
Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.