Warm-Up Activities | Ophea Teaching Tools

    Warm-Up Activities

    Use warm-up activities to prepare children, physically and psychologically, for more vigorous activity. Warm up with some easy aerobic activities that will gradually elevate the heart rate. Keep activities simple and move major joints (neck, shoulders, trunk, hip, knee and ankle) through their range of motion. Avoid deep stretching until muscles are warm. Flexibility can be improved by stretching during cool-down activities.

    Moving on the Spot

    • March on the spot or around the room; lift the knees high and perform a variety of arm actions while marching.
    • Jogging: on the spot or around the room; slow pace, faster pace, touch heels to hands (behind back).
    • Lift knees high in front; use accompanying arm actions.
    • Jumping: feet together, slow, fast; while turning; make a square pattern; make a triangle pattern.
    • Kicking: combine hop and kick forwards, sideways; with bent knee or straight leg; alternate legs.

    Around the Room

    • Hopping: one foot then the other, slow, fast.
    • Skipping: around the room, change the lead leg.
    • Galloping: around the room forwards, backward.

    Bingo Warm-Up

    • Skip or run around the gym to BINGO music (sing or play).
    • When the dog’s name is spelled out slowly, children make shapes with their bodies:
      B = stretched high and tall
      I = wide
      N = as low as possible, staying on feet
      G = lying face down
      O = rollover onto back
    • Children get up and start skipping again.

    Animal Relays

    • Partners stand on opposite sides of the gym.
    • Choose two animals: One partner moves like a seal (or any other animal) to his or her partner, who moves like an alligator (or any other animal) back to the other partner’s spot.
    • Pick any animal. One partner moves like any animal across the gym to his or her partner.
    • The waiting partner guesses the type of animal then moves to the opposite side of the gym and back, moving like that animal. Children switch roles

    Speedy Lines

    • Children walk on the lines of the gymnasium. On a signal, children change directions, move to a new line or vary the type of movement.

    Shake Your Sillies Out

    • Children stand on the spot singing and shaking their arms and legs:
      Shake, shake, shake your sillies out,
      Shake, shake, shake your sillies out,
      Shake, shake, shake your sillies out,
      And wiggle your worries away.
    • Vary this each time by singing the song with different words and changing movements, for example:
      Hop, hop, hop your sillies out,
      Jump, jump, jump your sillies out,
      Dance, dance, dance your sillies out...

    Grab Bag Moves

    • Children move around the gymnasium in their own space.
    • Pull out a series of objects from a “grab bag”, e.g., rubber ball, toy train, animal puppets, airplane drawing.
    • Children move around the room, moving like the object.
    • Remind children to move in their own space and gradually increase speed and intensity as they warm up.


    • Children move into a squat position, with head tucked in and arms wrapped over the head.
    • Children pretend they are kernels of popcorn and that the pot is getting hotter.
    • They begin to jump up and down on the spot when the “popcorn” begins to pop.
    • Continue for 20 – 30 counts, rest, and then repeat.