PE Warm-Up Activities

Written by joan collins
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PE Warm-Up Activities
Warm-ups come before physical activity. (race running girl image by Wendi Evans from

It is important to get kids moving during physical education class. It is equally important to teach them how to move without injuring themselves. Warm-up activities help stretch out and warm up children's muscles before they play games or engage in an exercise circuit. Teach students how to protect themselves in just five minutes. Warm-up activities are often just as fun as the games the students play!

Chicken Fat

Ask students to form a circle, standing far enough apart that they do not come in contact with the people on their left or right when their arms are stretched out. Play the "Chicken Fat" song on a CD player or computer. In less than ten minutes, the audio will run students through a series of exercises that will warm up their muscles, to the tune of the catchy "Go you chicken fat, go" song of the sixties.

Circuit Exercises

Write exercise names and draw a picture of the exercise on foam circles, available at the dollar store, to create your own circuit training. Place the circles on the wall around the room or form a circle on the floor using the circles. Have each student stand by one of the circles. Play energetic music and have the students do the exercise written in their circle for 30 seconds. Run one lap around the room and stop at the next circle. Continue for five minutes. Include exercises like push-ups, crunches, leg lunges, leg lifts, windmills, toe touches, jumping jacks and leg stretches.

On the first day of class, do all the exercises together to teach them to the children. When they perform the exercises on their own, watch for any warm-up exercises that are being performed incorrectly. Change the order of the series and add new exercises regularly.

Imagination and Interactive Games

Students can warm up their brains as well as their bodies. Have students squat down, making themselves as tiny as possible. They should slowly rise like a flower unfolding before the sun, until they reach for the sky, and keep stretching high. You can become the sun; as you move, the "flowers" stretch in your direction.

Alternatively, match each student with a partner. If there is an odd number of students, have one group of three. Students should face each other. One becomes the leader. The leader stretches his arms and legs, and twists and turns his body in all directions. His partner must mirror or copy his actions. Switch leaders halfway through warm-up time.

Running Warm-ups

Line the children up against the wall. Tell them they must listen to your voice and do as you say. Changing the drill frequently, tell them to run like the noun you describe. Start with a slow noun, like a snail. Change to a grasshopper, snake, horse, aeroplane, rabbit, elephant, kangaroo, jaguar, car, train and gazelle. Use any motion-oriented noun you can think of, but vary the activity between fast and slow. Continue for the first five minutes of class.

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